Didier Reynders, Belgium finance minister, said that enlarging the European aid fund from the current 750 billion euros is possible. He also mentioned that the IMF, that participates in the fund, also supports enlarging it. The consensus is that the fund is sufficient for bailing out Portugal, but won’t be sufficient for a Spanish bailout.
Europe’s fourth largest economy, Spain, has much bigger debt. The government is raising taxes and privatizing airports in order to balance the budget and resume confidence that it can pay its debt.
But it isn’t certain that the Belgian finance minister is thinking about Spain. He might be thinking about his own country as well. Also Belgian bonds have risen during the crisis, and have also caused worries. Although Belgium is a rather small country, it is in the heart of Europe, the heart of the European Union. Troubles in a “core” state, in the capital of the EU, Brussels, is serious trouble.
All this might not be necessary if another European body, sitting in Frankfurt, Germany and led by a French banker, will defuse the situation. Jean-Claude Trichet finally became an active actor in the bailout efforts, buying Portuguese and Irish bonds on Thursday, easing the pressure on Spanish and Belgian bonds as well.
The Euro jumped on Trichet’s initial steps and finally posted a recovery. For technical levels and events in the week ahead, see the EUR/USD forecast.
On Monday we’ll get to know if the bond buying is serious – both in size and both in “sterilization” – if the buying means extracting money from other places (sterilized) or just printing money – unsterilized.
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