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Euro contagion fears grow

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 02:24

Nov. 16 - The European Central Bank intervenes in bond markets to ease pressure on indebted states, as contagion fears persist. Kirsty Basset reports.

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There was some relief on European markets in morning trade, but it was short-lived. Italy's bond yields again topped the key 7 percent level. And traders say it took action from the European Central Bank to try and ease market pressure by buying Italian and Spanish debt. Adam Myers is a senior market strategist at Credit Agricole. (SOUNDBITE)(English) ADAM MYERS, SENIOR MARKET STRATEGIST, CREDIT AGRICOLE, SAYING: "The level of pessimism in the bond market this morning was sufficient that the ECB was really left with little choice." But the ECB's latest bond buying spree did little to contain fears that the euro zone crisis is spreading. Attention is turning to the euro zone's second largest economy - France, where borrowing costs on ten year bonds have risen to 3.6 percent from 2.5 percent two months ago. But Myers says markets are being overly negative. (SOUNDBITE)(English) ADAM MYERS, SENIOR MARKET STRATEGIST, CREDIT AGRICOLE, SAYING: "The revenue situation in France is nowhere near as detrimental as it is in some of the other larger sovereigns like Italy. So I think it is an overreaction to place France in the same bucket as the periphery. However the market will continue to test the resolve of politicians and I think with France that's really where the line must be drawn." There have been calls for the ECB to take more decisive action to stem the crisis - but the bank's policy makers say governments must solve the crisis through reforms. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso says what is needed is an even stronger commitment from euro zone members. (SOUNDBITE)(English) EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT, JOSE MANUEL BARROSO, SAYING: "Without this increased integration, convergence and discipline, we will not be able to sustain a common currency. And that moment of truth is coming. Either member states accept it -- to complete what was initiated in Maastricht, to complete the monetary union with an economic union that requires full discipline, full convergence, full integration -- or if they don't accept this we will put at risk our goal." There was a warning too from the U.S. President. Barack Obama said the market turmoil would continue - unless Europe put concrete measures in place to show it's behind the euro. Kirsty Basset, Reuters.

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Euro contagion fears grow

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 02:24