In the week ending 23 December 2005, the decrease of EUR 165 million in gold and gold receivables (asset item 1) reflected sales of gold by two Eurosystem central banks (consistent with the Central Bank Gold Agreement of 27 September 2004).
The net position of the Eurosystem in foreign currency (asset items 2 and 3 minus liability items 7, 8 and 9) decreased by EUR 3.4 billion to EUR 161.2 billion on account of customer and portfolio transactions.
The holdings by the Eurosystem of marketable securities of euro area residents denominated in euro (asset item 7) increased by EUR 0.6 billion to EUR 94.4 billion. Banknotes in circulation (liability item 1) rose by EUR 9.4 billion to EUR 568 billion. Liabilities to general government (liability item 5.1) increased by EUR 1 billion to EUR 35.6 billion.
The Eurosystem’s net lending to credit institutions (asset item 5 minus liability items 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5 and 4) increased by EUR 5.6 billion to EUR 404 billion. On Wednesday, 21 December 2005, a main refinancing operation of EUR 308.5 billion matured and a new one of EUR 314 billion was settled.
On the same day, the ECB arranged for the usual longer-term refinancing operation (LTRO) of EUR 30 billion for settlement on Thursday, 22 December 2005, when an earlier LTRO matured. However, an erroneous bid prevented the ECB from executing this new longer-term refinancing operation for the standard amount, with only EUR 12.5 billion being settled on the specified day. The residual amount of EUR 17.5 billion was subsequently allotted by means of an exceptional refinancing operation based on normal LTRO procedures on Thursday, 22 December 2005, and was settled on Friday, 23 December. Both refinancing operations will mature on Thursday, 30 March 2006.
Recourse to the marginal lending facility (asset item 5.5) was virtually nil (approximately the same as in the previous week), and recourse to the deposit facility (liability item 2.2) was also virtually nil (compared with EUR 0.1 billion in the preceding week).
As a result of all transactions, the current account position of credit institutions with the Eurosystem (liability item 2.1) decreased by EUR 7.6 billion to EUR 150.7 billion.
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