The European Central Bank said today it has bought €26.3 billion worth of bonds under its quantitative easing programme within the first 10 days. 

ECB President Mario Draghi told a hearing of the European Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs in Brussels that it was "on track" to meet its stated goal of a total €60 billion in bond purchases per month.

"On March 9, we started purchasing public-sector securities as part of our expanded asset purchase programme," Draghi told the regular hearing.

According to data released on the ECB's website, the QE purchases totalled €26.3 billion as of last Wednesday, March 18.

"Overall, our asset purchases will amount to €60 billion per month. The pace of purchases so far puts the overall programme on track to reach a total of €60 billion in March," Draghi said. 

On January 22, the ECB announced a massive €1.14 trillion bond purchase programme which will take place over at least 18 months.

The aim is to pump liquidity into the financial system so as to kick-start lending and push up inflation, currently below zero.

Some analysts have suggested, however, that the ECB might find it difficult to find sufficient bonds to buy, as many investors will be unwilling or unable to sell top-rated government bonds, particularly those belonging to Germany.

Mr Draghi rejected such suggestions. "At this point in time we see no signs that there will not be enough bonds for us to purchase. Feedback from market participants so far suggests that implementation has been very smooth and that market liquidity remains ample," he said.

Demand for loans on the increase

Mr Draghi also said that businesses' demand for bank loans is resurgent in the euro zone as cheaper credit makes new investment projects more attractive.

He said he believed this would support economic recovery.

He said the monetary stimulus programme was accelerating the transmission of lower interest rates through the entire financial system.
              
"As bank lending rates are being reduced, new investment projects, previously considered unprofitable, become attractive," he said. 

"In the short-run, this should sustain the demand for credit and investment."
                            
Euro zone money supply figures due tomorrow are expected to show a slight rise in lending to households and firms in February. 

Lending has not risen since July 2012.