Euro-area banks may tap the European Central Bank next week for almost as much three-year cash as they did in December in an operation that could prolong a rally in bond markets.
Financial institutions will ask the ECB for 470 billion euros ($629 billion) in three-year funds for allotment on Feb. 29, the median of 28 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey shows. While that’s less than the record 489 billion euro take-up at the first tender on Dec. 21, it may increase total cash in the system by more than 300 billion euros, said Luca Cazzulani, a senior fixed-income strategist at UniCredit SpA (UCG) in Milan.
“Part of the increase will likely be parked, at least temporarily, in the sovereign-bond market and support mainly the performance of Italian and Spanish bonds,” said Cazzulani. Still, “expectations are at a pretty high level, which creates some room for disappointment,” he said. “Gross demand below 400 billion euros would likely put upward pressure on spreads in the short term.”