Since April this year, the ECB has reduced its monthly QE purchases from €80bn to €60bn. This did not have much direct effect on the covered bond market though; the ECB has predominantly scaled back the purchases of government bonds, with spreads which already sufficiently reflected this. On the covered bond side we do not expect to see any strategic changes in buying behaviour (yet) as CBPP3 (the third covered bond purchase programme) purchases are decreasing in any case for seasonal reasons amid shrinking primary market activity. However, it is ultimately only a matter of time until the ECB has no choice but to start official tapering on a broader front. Commerzbank expects the QE programme to be gradually reduced further from the beginning of 2018 and then finally cease at the end of 2018. Consequently, while up to now we have always regarded it as premature to speculate on the CBPP3 end game effects, it does make sense to start thinking now about the spread impact of the exit.
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