TOKYO – Ireland and Portugal do not yet qualify for the European Central Bank's bond buying programme, ECB's Executive Board member Joerg Asmussen said on Saturday.
The ECB has announced it would buy potentially unlimited amounts of bonds euro zone governments that sign a memorandum of understanding with the euro zone's bailout fund or are regaining bond market access after an emergency loan program.
Spain is likely to be the first country to benefit from the ECB plan, called Outright monetary Transactions (OMT).
"The question is when countries like Portugal or Ireland, which is now under a full-fledged EFSF programme, can become eligible for the OMT....," Asmussen said during a panel discussion on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund meeting.
"The OMT decision, to quote this fully, says countries can qualify when they are regaining full bond market access and the word 'bond' is there on purpose," Asmussen said.
"(Portuguese Finance Minister) Vitor (Gaspar) had described significant steps Portugal has taken... but for the time being this is not sufficient to qualify for the OMT, it is not full market access," he said.
(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski and Tomasz Janowski)