25/06/2013 14:51:00

Eurosystem Balance Sheet Resumes Its Decline

By Christopher Lawton

FRANKFURT--The size of the European Central Bank's balance sheet, a rough proxy for the level of financial stress in the euro zone, resumed its downward course, data showed Tuesday, after a brief climb the previous week.

Figures published by the ECB showed the total assets of the Eurosystem, which consists of the ECB and the 17 national central banks of the countries in the euro zone, fell by 5.36 billion euros ($7.02 billion) to EUR2.55 trillion in the week ended June 21.

The previous week, ending June 14, saw the first increase to the ECB's balance sheet in over two months due to increased lending. The asset item that includes emergency liquidity assistance, or ELA--lending that national central banks provide to troubled banks--also jumped EUR4.78 billion that week, its first increase after five straight weeks of decline.

Tuesday, the ECB said the asset item that includes ELA declined by EUR2.54 billion.

In total, the balance sheet is 16.8% below where it was a year ago. Since the beginning of the year, banks have started to repay the three-year loans they took out at the end of 2011 and in early 2012. These operations added EUR520 billion of liquidity to the euro-zone's financial system in net terms, of which nearly EUR300 billion has been repaid.

Write to Christopher Lawton at christopher.lawton@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 25, 2013 09:51 ET (13:51 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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