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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown emerges from television studios in London -- January 23, 2009 - 


Bob Moon: Maybe the sky isn't the limit when it comes to how far into debt we dare dig ourselves, as a way of trying to dig out from under the financial mess. Seems Britain's prime minister is having some second thoughts about the wisdom of more stimulus spending. Gordon Brown is the host of next week's G20 summit, and he's been Washington's closest ally in urging other European leaders to cough up more stimulus money. But as Christopher Werth reports, he now appears to be backing away -- or, perhaps more accurately, to be scared away from that approach.

Christopher Werth: Gordon Brown might be heeding warnings from central bank officials in Europe and the U.K. who have voiced their concerns this week over rising government debt. The British are already hoping to sell a record-breaking $200 billion worth of government bonds this year. Yesterday, a British government bond auction failed for the first time in seven years, raising the question of whether investors might be worried as well.

David Page of Investec says a series of failures in coming months would be cause for concern:

David Page: A lot of the governments are borrowing aggressively across the world, and all of them will be very hopeful that there are different buyers there to back them up.

He says yesterday's failure is probably a one-time event. But Germany has also had trouble attracting enough investors for their government bonds in recent months.

In London, I'm Christopher Werth for Marketplace.