Though as I write the official release has yet to appear here, the FT is already reporting that the ECB only acquired about €1 billion in sovereign bonds last week, down from the €4 billion or so seen in previous weeks and the €16 billion that occured during its first week. The winding down of the program was quasi-predicted here a few weeks ago.
One interpretation of what has happened with this program is that the ECB reluctantly launched the program despite some internal disagreement to ease tensions in sovereign debt markets, and that once the Stabilisation Mechanism funds were put in place, they have been quick to head for the exit.
Increasingly, it seems unlikely that the ECB will at any point engage in large-scale purchases on the secondary market aimed at keeping access to the primary market open for a specific country such as Ireland. Rather, a closing primary market will instead lead to a country to tapping the Stabilisation Mechanism funds.
Of course, one cannot completely rule out the ECB will re-activate the program on a larger scale if tensions start to mount again. But I wouldn’t bet on it.
Update: Official announcement confirms the figure at 796.5 million.