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At least someone’s making money: ECB profits quadrupled last year

A ballooning balance sheet and bigger roles in the bond markets meant the ECB turned profits of €728m, up from €171m.

Image: Michael Probst/AP

THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK has released its annual accounts for 2011 – revealing that its profits more than quadrupled in 2011.

The Frankfurt-based bank turned a profit of €728 million last year, significantly up on €171 million from 2010.

The boosted profits came as a result of the ECB’s growing portfolio of sovereign bonds, which saw the ECB’s total interest income shoot up from €1.42 billion to just under €2 billion – half of which came directly from the bank’s holdings of bonds from eurozone countries like Ireland.

The massive increase in interest was helped by a smaller writedown on its financial assets and provisions, meaning that the bank’s total net come doubled from €586 million to €1.17 billion.

The bank has set aside another €1.166 billion towards risk provision, meaning it has now set aside a total of €6.36 billion to cover risks from fluctuations in the price of currencies, commodities and credit.

The €728 million profit, in total, is to be distributed among the central banks of eurozone member states. Ireland is set to receive about €11.5 million of that input.

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Gavan Reilly

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