European Debt Crisis

For ECB plan to succeed, European banks must buy up bonds

Stephen Beard Dec 22, 2011

Adriene Hill: The European Central Bank’s program to lend to banks is officially a hit. More than 500 banks snatched up almost $640 billion yesterday. But what looks like a major success now may end up being more of a modest win in the future against the mounting debt crisis in the eurozone.

Marketplace’s Stephen Beard reports from London.

Stephen Beard: Investors and analysts have generally applauded the move. The injection of so much cash seems certain to end the credit crunch in Europe. Banks may now be more willing and able to lend to each other. And this makes a major banking collapse much less likely.

But Bob Parker of Credit Suisse says, though welcome, this latest measure is limited.

Bob Parker: This may provide short-term relief for the liquidity of the banks but obviously it goes nowhere in solving the very fundamental problems of European governments like Italy and Spain.

Because the banks that borrow this $600 billion may not be keen on lending it to the likes of Italy and Spain. That’s what the European Central Bank is hoping they’ll do, but anaysts say the banks have already lost a bundle on eurozone government bonds, and they won’t want to buy anymore.

In London, I’m Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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