ECB extends limit-free liquidity provision to banks


The European Central Bank will continue to supply euro zone banks with all the liquidity they ask for in the central bank's refinancing operations at least until July 2013, ECB President Mario Draghi said on Thursday.

"We have ... decided to continue conducting our main refinancing operations, or MROs, as fixed-rate tender procedures with full allotments for as long as necessary and at least until the end of the sixth maintenance period on July 9, 2013," Draghi told a news conference after the bank left its main interest rate unchanged at 0.75 percent.

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The ECB had said in June it would give euro zone banks unlimited access to central bank funding at least until January 15.

Before the crisis, the ECB allotted a certain amount in its refinancing operations for which banks had to put in bids. Since the crisis began, the ECB has extended the maturity of such operations to as long as three years and has lifted funding limits.

(Reporting by Eva Kuehnen; Editing by Catherine Evans/Jeremy Gaunt)