Draghi likely to buy bonds in short term fix

Tim Wallace
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MARKETS edged up yesterday on hopes that European Central Bank boss Mario Draghi will today announce plans to buy more bonds in an effort to temporarily ease the pressure on troubled governments.

The central banker has been caught between dovish factions looking to relieve the pressure on the beleaguered Italian and Spanish governments, and hawkish Germans who are concerned the ECB will break its mandate by intervening too far in markets.

Draghi has tried to forge a middle path, hinting that high borrowing costs in troubled countries impedes the proper functioning of normal monetary policy and so merits his attention.

However, he is not expected to go all out on a US- or UK-style round of quantitative easing, and is instead likely to announce any further bond purchases will be “sterilised,” as they have been in the past.

That means the ECB will take in deposits from banks equivalent to the amount of government bonds purchased, thus avoiding accusations of printing money to bail out governments.

Spanish government borrowing costs fell, with 10-year bond yields down 0.161 percentage points to 6.41 per cent. Italian yields also fell 0.154 points to 5.514 per cent.