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BBC World Service

Central banks buy European governments more time

Andrew Walker Dec 1, 2011

Jeremy Hobson: Well the huge global stock rally that sent the Dow on its biggest one day jump in almost three years seems to have ended this morning in Europe. And of course, Europe was the reason that central banks around the world decided yesterday to launch coordinated action to make borrowing easier. They were trying to stop the European debt crisis from turning into a full-blown global credit crisis.

For more, let’s go to Andrew Walker in London. He’s economics correspondent for the BBC. Good morning.

Andrew Walker: Good morning Jeremy.

Hobson: So Andrew, we’ve seen the impact that the central bank move had on stocks. What kind of impact is it having on borrowing and credit in Europe this morning?

Walker: It’s certainly the case that there have been relatively favorable developments in the European bond markets. France and Spain both went to the financial markets to borrow money; there was strong demand for both countries’ debt. In the case of France, some of the yield — the interest rate if you like — that they have to pay was actually down in some areas. Spain had to pay a bit more — but not nearly as much as it probably would have done if it had to go to the markets a week or so ago.

Hobson: So these are the immediate effects. Now some are saying that this move by the central banks was all about buying time for European leaders to deal with the debt crisis in a big way. How are they likely to take advantage of that extra time?

Walker: The key thing that the markets I think are now looking for from European leaders is some move towards greater discipline; integration of government finances in the eurozone. And I think they’re also hoping that if they can do that, it will reduce the reluctance of the European Central Bank to intervene much more decisively in the bond market. And that, I think more than anything, is what the markets would like to see.

Hobson: The BBC’s Andrew Walker. Thanks Andrew.

Walker: Pleasure, Jeremy.

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