ECB Adds 73.5 Billion Euros in Extra Weekly Funds to Money Markets

The European Central Bank lent banks 73.5 billion euros ($100 billion) in extra funds on Tuesday, topping up their coffers for one week to help ease tensions in the euro-zone credit markets.

The ECB allotted a total of 310 billion euros in its regular main refinancing on Tuesday, more cash than it estimated was needed in the financial system for the coming week.

The money overshot the ECB's revised benchmark estimate that banks would need 236.5 billion euros to meet their financing requirements.

The extra funds will stay in the money market for a week, in contrast to the short-term injections of cash the ECB has undertaken in recent days to calm markets panicked by the fallout from the U.S subprime mortgage crisis.

The ECB earlier on Tuesday gave out 7.7 billion euros for one day, its fourth temporary operation since last Thursday, providing bridging funds until the weekly refis start on Wednesday.

The weekly money was awarded at a weighted average rate of 4.10%, above a Reuters poll of 4.09%. The ECB said 48% of bids were accepted at the marginal rate of 4.08%, higher than the 4.07% polled.

A total of 344 banks bid for 426.99 billion euros at the weekly tender, with rates bid ranging from 4.0% to 4.22%.

The benchmark allotment was revised from Monday's estimate of 237.5 billion euros.

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