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Europe's delicate balance

Tuesday, September 04, 2012 - 01:45

Spanish and Italian bond yields fell sharply on Tuesday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi was quoted on Monday as saying ECB purchases of sovereign bonds with maturity of up to three years would not breach European Union rules. Matt Cowan reports.

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Whatever it takes...whatever does that mean? As the days and weeks have ticked away since European Central Bank President Mario Draghi made that dramatic pledge to take whatever action necessary to save the euro, more questions have been asked about exactly what Draghi would and indeed could do under the ECB madate. This appears to be the week of truth. It's expected Draghi will present some details of a new bond-buying plan at the ECB's policy meeting on Thursday. CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson says big questions remain. SOUNDBITE: MICHAEL HEWSON, CMC MARKETS MARKET ANALYST, SAYING (English): "Mr. Schaeuble, the Finance Minister of Germany is opposed to ECB oversight of all of the 6,000 banks within the EU. And the ECB itself doesn't really have the resources to manage that sort of task. The real question that really needs to be asked here is what banks does Germany consider to be systemically important? And furthermore, Mr. Draghi yesterday suggested that buying short-term bonds up to a three-year duration didn't amount to monetary financing. Well I suspect the Bundesbank may have a different take on that." The conundrum in Europe is how to spur growth that is so dearly needed, while also tackling debt by cutting costs. In Portugal, members of the opposition Socialist party told visiting inspectors from the troika that the country cannot take any new austerity measures. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) PS SOCIALIST PARTY PARLIAMENTARIAN, PEDRO MARQUES, SAYING: " We need to refrain from aggravating domestic demand and pushing us further into recession, to interrupt this austerity spiral. Stop burdening people with measures which only sink the economy further and are even distance us from the deficit targets." Portugal's predicament demonstrates the difficulty Europe faces...it has rigidly stuck to the austerity conditions of its 78-billion-euro bailout, but with the economy sinking futher into recession and tax revenues falling it's unlikely to meet its 4.5 percent of GDP deficit target this year without additional measures. Matt Cowan, Reuters.

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Europe's delicate balance

Tuesday, September 04, 2012 - 01:45