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European bond market on a rollercoaster ride

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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The bond market in Europe has been on a roller coaster ride this week. Things have calmed a bit today, after borrowing costs in Italy shot past the critical 7 percent limit — some say a tipping point at paying back debt. And other countries that don’t have major debt issues also saw those borrowing costs go up.

The BBC’s Andrew Walker is with us now from London. Hey Andrew.

ANDREW WALKER: Morning Steve.

CHIOTAKIS:So what does it means that we saw these interests rates in places like Finland, the Netherlands, and Austria shoot up too?

WALKER: It means that financial markets are becoming increasingly concerned about the wider economic situation in the eurozone and the possibility that some other governments might perhaps get into difficulty with their government debt. Some of those cases, it looks like a remote possibility; I have to say some of them do have very strong government finances. But it’s a measure, I think, of just how concerned markets have become. The one I think is most worrying though is France, because France does have a little bit of a more precarious situation with its government finances, and of course it’s a really big one.

CHIOTAKIS:And is this a turning point, Andrew? We keep hearing about contagion and fears of contagion in the eurozone, is this it?

WALKER: It’s certainly a troubling development. I have to say that in early trading today, some of those interest rates have retreated a bit following reports of intervention in the bond market following reports of intervention by the European Central Bank. But certainly, it’s conceivable that we might one day look back at the latest developments and see it as something of a turning point.

CHIOTAKIS:The BBC’s Andrew Walker in London. Andrew, thank you.

WALKER: My pleasure, Steve.

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