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ECB says no more ammo!
Started:November 10th, 2011 (09:40 AM) by Quick Summary Views / Replies:227 / 0
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ECB says no more ammo!

Old November 10th, 2011, 09:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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ECB says no more ammo!

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European Central Bank policy makers said the bank can’t do much more to stem the region’s sovereign debt crisis, suggesting they are reluctant to significantly ramp up bond purchases to lower Italy’s borrowing costs.

“Not much more can be expected from us, it’s up to the governments,” Governing Council member Klaas Knot, who heads the Dutch central bank, told lawmakers in The Hague today. Three other policy makers have also publicly rejected calls for more ECB intervention and two further officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the central bank has no plans to make its purchase program unlimited.

Bond yields in Italy, the third-largest economy in the 17- nation euro region, have surged above the 7 percent level that led Greece, Portugal and Ireland to seek bailouts from the European Union and International Monetary Fund. With politicians still unable to find a solution to the debt crisis that has raged for two years, the ECB is being asked to step into the breach to hold Europe’s monetary union together.

The Bank of England maintained its target for asset purchases as policy makers gauged the capacity of their second round of stimulus to ward off the danger posed by Europe’s debt crisis.

The nine-member Monetary Policy Committee led by Governor Mervyn King held the ceiling for so-called quantitative easing at 275 billion pounds ($438 billion), as forecast by all 38 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. The bank, which expanded QE by 75 billion pounds last month, said the current purchases will take another three months to complete and the “scale of the program will be kept under review.”

Europe’s debt turmoil has spread to Italy, further threatening Britain’s recovery, and the European Commission said today there’s a risk of a contraction in the U.K. economy in “at least one of the next few quarters.” The Bank of England may lower growth projections in its Inflation Report next week, which King will present at a press conference.


U.S. stock futures rose, following the biggest decline in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since August, as Greece named Lucas Papademosits interim prime minister and American jobless claims fell to a seven-month low.

Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and Citigroup Inc. (C) added at least 2.6 percent as European lenders rallied. Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO), the world’s largest maker of networking equipment, climbed 6.5 percent as profit and sales beat estimates, bolstered by a turnaround effort and demand for data centers. Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) advanced 1.4 percent as crude oil increased amid speculation the global economy may weather Europe’s debt crisis.

S&P 500 futures expiring in December rose 1.4 percent to 1,242.30 as of 8:46 a.m. New York time. The gauge slumped 3.7 percent yesterday as one out of 500 stocks in the index rose, the fewest since June 2010. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures jumped 131 points, or 1.1 percent, to 11,863 today.

European stocks advanced after Italy met its fund-raising target in a Treasury bills auction and the region’s central bank was said to be buying the nation’s bonds. U.S. index futures rose and Asian shares fell.

European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. rose 5.3 percent after its third-quarter profit surged and the German government agreed to buy a 7.5 percent stake in the company from Daimler AG. (DAI) Air France-KLM Group, Europe’s biggest airline, retreated 2.7 percent after forecasting a full-year loss.

The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.6 percent to 237.80 at 12:39 p.m. in London. The gauge has rallied 11 percent from this year’s low on Sept. 22 as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy pushed to expand the European Financial Stability Facility, the bailout fund. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures added 1.2 percent, while MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 3.3 percent.


The euro rose against the dollar following yesterday’s biggest drop in more than a year after Italy drew double the bids for the amount on offer at a bill sale, easing concern the nation is struggling to fund itself.

The 17-nation currency advanced from a one-month low as the European Central Bank was said to buy Italy’s government bonds. The country’s 10-year yields climbed yesterday above the 7 percent level that spurred Greece, Ireland and Portugal to request bailouts. The euro remained higher versus the greenback as U.S. initial unemployment claims dropped.

“The view that the euro area has the means to solve its own crisis remains widespread,” wrote Paul Robinson, the London-based head of foreign-exchange research at Barclays Plc in London, in a research note. “The question is whether it has the will, and that matters to global investors. The best way to trade the crisis comes down to how confident one is about the likelihood of robust measures from the European authorities.”

The Swiss central bank is resisting calls from executives and politicians to further weaken the franc amid investor demand for a haven from the region’s sovereign debt crisis.

UBS AG analysts estimate defending the franc’s cap of 1.20 per euro cost the Swiss National Bank about 5 billion francs ($5.7 billion) in September, while government ministers and labor unions say the initiative is still putting jobs at risk. Policy makers have toughened their language in an effort to weaken the currency further and may be unwilling to absorb the expense of adjusting their limit after currency purchases led to a record loss in 2010.

“Obviously, they’re under enormous pressure,” said Peter Rosenstreich, chief currency analyst at Swissquote Bank SA in Geneva, by phone on Nov. 8. “Their verbal intervention has really convinced the market that the next move is going to be higher and that’s enormously effective without costing them anything. They’ll continue to use a very hawkish tone.”


Copper fell in New York to the lowest price in more than two weeks as the European Union cut its euro-region growth forecast for next year by more than half amid the struggle to contain the fiscal crisis.

Gross domestic product may expand 1.5 percent this year and 0.5 percent in 2012, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said today. It previously projected expansion at 1.6 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively. Prices also slid as exports climbed at the slowest pace in almost two years in top global copper consumer China.

“For now, everyone is looking for the next problem,” Dan Smith, an analyst at Standard Chartered Plc in London, said by phone today. “The story for commodities over the medium term and long term is still a good one, but we’re going to see a few more weeks, or maybe months, of continued volatility.”

Copper for December delivery dropped 1.9 percent to $3.3755 a pound by 7:42 a.m. on the Comex in New York. Prices reached $3.318, the lowest level since Oct. 24. Copper for three-month delivery fell 2 percent to $7,472 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange.

Oil rose to its highest in more than three months in New York as falling unemployment applications and decreasing crude supplies in the U.S. bolstered confidence that demand will remain supported.

Futures extended gains after the Labor Department said that jobless claims fell by 10,000 to 390,000 in the week ended Nov. 5., the lowest level in seven months. Oil had already gained after Italy met its fund-raising target in a Treasury bills auction. The International Energy Agency reduced forecasts for global oil demand in 2012 for a third month on weaker prospects for developed nations.

“It’s quite bullish at the moment in the oil market,” said Gerrit Zambo, a trader at Bayerische Landesbank in Munich. “But the bullish sentiment can easily turn again if we see markets crashing further due to the Italian situation.”

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