ECB ready to buy bonds, ball in Spain's court: Praet


The European Central Bank is ready to use its new bond-purchase program and it is up Spain to decide whether to make the request for aid that is required to trigger ECB buying, ECB policymaker Peter Praet said on Friday.

"The Spanish authorities have to take the decision. We are ready operationally," Praet told reporters after giving a speech in Milan. "The ball is in the camp of the authorities."

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"It is really their national decision," he said. "We are just there as the central bank and we are there to look at what we call 'monetary policy transmission'."

Asked whether Spain needs a bailout, Praet added: "It is not a question of bailout, it is a question of adjustment."

Under the ECB's new bond-buy plan - dubbed Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) - a country must ask for aid from Europe's bailout fund before the bank will consider buying its bonds. The aid would come with conditions attached on economic reforms.

(Reporting by Francesca Landini, writing by Paul Carrel; editing by Patrick Graham)