The European Central Bank kept its controversial government bond purchase programme shut off for the second week in a row, ECB data showed on Monday.

The freeze comes as Greece moved closer to receiving its second, 130-billion-euro bailout package from the EU and the International Monetary Fund, which includes the largest-ever sovereign debt restructuring, of which the ECB is also part of.

The ECB has wound down its purchases of troubled euro zone debt over the last month and a half as key euro zone bond markets began to improved substantially thanks to the ECB's injection of 489 billion euros (413 billion pounds) in 3-year loans in December.

Last week's absence from the markets is that latest sign that the programme has been mothballed again, something it first did for four months in the middle of last year, but ended in August when the debt crisis reared up again.

The total amount the ECB has spent since starting the programme back in May 2010, remained at 219.5 billion euros.

The ECB bought Greek government debt worth roughly 50 billion euros as part of its so-called Securities Markets Programme and to help bring Greece's debt down to more manageable levels, it agreed to pass on the profits it is set to make.

The amounts of bonds bought by the ECB are reported by the bank every week but take two to three days to settle, meaning that when it is buying, the figures do not necessarily give a full picture.

As usual, the ECB will hold a 'sterilisation' operation on Tuesday to neutralise the inflationary pressure the bond buys create, a move it does by getting banks to put down 7-day deposits equalling what it has spent in total on bonds.

(Reporting by Sakari Suoninen)