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European Debt Crisis

ECB Mario Draghi holds press conference

Stephen Beard Aug 2, 2012
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Jeremy Hobson: The head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, is holding a press conference right now in Frankfurt. And global markets are hanging on his every word. That’s because he said last week he’ll do whatever it takes to save the euro, and today is the day we find out what that means.

Marketplace’s Stephen Beard is with us live from London with more. Stephen, what do we know so far?

Stephen Beard: Well, we know so far what he’s not going to do. He’s not going to cut interest rates. But we don’t, to be frank, at this stage of his news conference, really know much more. Some investors had been hoping, as you say, for the big bazooka. But all Mario Draghi has said so far is that the bank will intervene directly in the market to help the Spanish and Italians with their borrowing costs — in other words, by buying Spanish and Italian government bonds.

But he hasn’t said precisely how, or on what scale, this so-called “open market operation” would take place. He says over the next few weeks, “We’ll design appropriate modalities,” — whatever that means.

Hobson: Well, whatever the bank does decide to do, do you think that it’s going to be enough to make a difference in this two and half year old euro debt crisis?

Beard: Well so far, the markets seem to be absorbing his remarks fairly positively; markets seem fairly relaxed. But one has to say, so far in this news conference, it does appear that he hasn’t won the German approval for more radical action. In other words, in that well worn time honored phrase, kicking the can down the road.

Hobson: Marketplace’s Steven Beard in London, thanks a lot.

Beard: OK, Jeremy.

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