European markets dip as quantitative easing begins

Emma Haslett
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Markets were pushed down by scepticism over quantitative easing and fears over a repeat of the Greek debt crisis (Source: Getty)

European markets fell in early trading as the European Central Bank finally launched its €60bn-a-month (£43bn) quantitative easing programme.

The FTSE 100 fell 0.59 per cent, while Germany's Dax dropped 0.39 per cent and France's Cac fell 0.61 per cent, as investors showed their caution over the programme, which is designed to lift Europe out of deflation.

Having dipped against the dollar to 1.0830, the euro rallied in late morning, rising 0.5 per cent to $1.0892.

Bloomberg reported that the ECB had begun its programme with the purchase of German bunds. The announcement caused yields on German 10-year bunds to fall to 0.38 per cent. Meanwhile, yields on Spanish 10-year debt fell to 1.28 per cent.

New worries about Greece also caused early trading to remain muted. European leaders were again unimpressed with new reform measures laid out by Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis in a letter over the weekend, which included hiring tourists as tax inspectors and a new "fiscal council" to monitor government spending . He suggested that if its plans are rejected again the country may call a referendum.

Finance ministers from the 19-nation bloc will meet again today to determine whether the measures are sufficient to unlock its latest payment, needed to help with an IMF debt repayment due later this week.

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