Top ECB official points to risks of killing bond-buying program before German court hearing

A top European Central Bank official is warning ahead of a hearing at Germany's highest court that killing the bank's program to buy troubled countries' bonds would have significant consequences.

Germany's Federal Constitutional Court holds a hearing Tuesday and Wednesday on critics' case against the eurozone's rescue fund. Judges also will consider the ECB's offer last September to purchase unlimited amounts of government bonds, lowering countries' borrowing costs.

The ECB hasn't bought any bonds under the program but its existence helped calm markets.

ECB executive board member Joerg Asmussen was quoted Monday as telling Germany's Bild daily that the program was "economically necessary, legally admissible and efficient in terms of its effect."

He said there would be significant consequences if the program had to be withdrawn but didn't elaborate.