Draghi will not attend Jackson Hole gathering

Ben Southwood
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MARIO DRAGHI has said he will not attend the Jackson Hole gathering of central bankers, sparking a flurry of speculation about the European Central Bank’s (ECB) bond buying plans.

The ECB president, who said he declined the invitation because of a heavy workload, had been scheduled to speak on Saturday, but now no one from the six member executive board will attend.

Analysts speculate that Draghi will remain behind to thrash out the details of the plan to bring down borrowing costs in troubled Eurozone states by buying bonds.

This plan has proved extremely controversial in Germany, especially within the Bundesbank, whose president Jens Weidmann will attend Jackson Hole. Weidmann’s predecessor, Axel Weber, quit his post in protest at the bond-buying plan, as did German ECB heavyweight Jürgen Stark.

But another German member of the ECB’s top body, Jörg Asmussen, tried to reassure Bundesbank opponents of the programme by claiming that the bank would make sure recipients of its aid drove through robust reforms.

Spain managed yesterday to auction off €3.6bn (£2.9bn) of bills at rock-bottom rates: three-month yields fell to 0.95 per cent, from 2.43 per cent, and six-month yields fell to 2.03 per cent, from 3.69 per cent.

But yields on its 10-year bills, as well as those of Italy, were up roughly 10 basis points by the end of the day.