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ECB details $292B holdings under discontinued bond-buying program, nearly half from Italy

The European Central Bank says Italian government bonds account for nearly half of its total holdings under a bond-buying program that it launched in 2010.

The ECB on Thursday detailed for the first time what countries' bonds it acquired under the so-called Securities Markets Program, which it started when the euro area's debt crisis first flared in May 2010 and formally ended last September.

The bank holds bonds with a face value of €218 billion ($292 billion) — €102.8 billion of them from Italy.

Spain accounted for the second-biggest holding, with bonds nominally worth €44.3 billion. The ECB also holds Greek bonds with a face value of €33.9 billion; Portuguese bonds worth €22.8 billion; and Irish bonds to the tune of €14.2 billion.