December 21, 2011 |
Faced with the threat of another regional recession, the European Central Bank said Wednesday that it was doling out more than half a trillion dollars in special long-term loans to hundreds of financial institutions in a bid to keep credit flowing. Demand for the cheap three-year loans set a lending record for the ECB, underscoring how fragile Europe's financial system remains as banks struggle to raise funds on the open market because of the euro debt crisis. The $640-billion infusion to 523 banks outstrips the $576 billion that the ECB issued in special one-year loans in June 2009 after the global financial meltdown.
December 20, 2011
The stock market took a late afternoon fall after European finance ministers failed to come up with the full amount of money pledged for a bailout fund. Banks led the way down. Morgan Stanley dropped more than 5% and Bank of America Corp. sank 4%, the biggest fall in the Dow Jones Industrial average. The Dow lost 100 points, or 0.8% to close at 11,766. The S&P 500 index fell 14 points, or 1.2%, to 1,205. The Nasdaq composite index fell 32 points, or 1.3%, to 2,523. Cautious comments from the head of the European Central Bank also helped push stocks lower.
December 8, 2011 |
On New Year's Day almost a decade ago, cash registers and ATMs across Europe started spitting out the shiny coins and crisp notes of the world's newest currency, the euro. They were the most radical, tangible symbol of the long march toward reconciliation and harmony on a continent still haunted by the memories of two world wars. A single currency, proponents said, would set the seal on an era of European unity that already boasted free markets and free movement. Now, officials are working feverishly to ensure that the currency survives a raging debt crisis that threatens its 10th birthday.
December 7, 2011 |
Investor anticipation is building ahead of meetings in Europe on Thursday and Friday that are being billed as a possible turning point for the continent's bruising economic crisis. In advance of the emergency meetings among leaders from all European Union nations, French leader Nicholas Sarkozy and German leader Angela Merkel wrote a joint letter Wednesday saying that "steps need to be taken now without further delay. " Stock trading has nearly ground to a halt this week, with major stock indexes barely budging, as investors wait to see what Europe's next move is. Analysts and politicians warn that failing to stem the government debt crisis could put the future of the euro currency in doubt.
December 5, 2011 |
The leaders of France and Germany pledged to remake the rules of Europe, creating a closer economic union buttressed by strict rules on government spending and automatic sanctions against countries that break them. They now must persuade the rest of Europe to agree, and convince dubious financial markets that the steps are enough to regain control over a debt crisis that threatens to destroy the common euro currency. Compromising on their policy differences, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a joint news conference in Paris on Monday that the European Union — or at least the inner core of 17 countries that share the euro — requires greater budgetary discipline.
December 1, 2011 |
Europe's worsening debt crisis has been a source of mounting fear and frustration for U.S. government officials and the biggest single threat to the struggling American economic recovery. On Wednesday, policymakers found an opening to act, with the Federal Reserve coordinating a move by six central banks to give European lenders cheaper access to dollars. The effort, designed to quell fears of a credit squeeze, triggered a huge rally in global stock markets, with the Dow gaining 490.05 points, the biggest one-day advance since March 2009.
November 10, 2011 |
Lucas Papademos, a banker and visiting professor at Harvard University, on Thursday landed one of the world's least popular jobs: prime minister of Greece. After days of haggling, Greece's two main political parties named Papademos, a trained economist and former governor of the Greek central bank, as the financially strapped country's new prime minister for at least the next few months. In his first public statement, the soft-speaking 64-year-old tried to allay public concerns and instill some semblance of hope.
November 2, 2011 |
The Greek drama is heightening by the day. Last week, Europe's leaders came up with a $180-billion rescue package for its most troubled member, Greece. Like previous efforts, the plan combines bailout funds with demands for continued austerity in an attempt to isolate Greece and leave the rest of Europe economically intact. This week, in response, a call by Greece's prime minister for a national referendum on the proposal surprised the world. The referendum may accelerate the inevitable fall of the Greek government.
October 27, 2011 |
Untangle this knot if you can. In the next days and months, the future of the Eurozone will be decided by the verdict of financial markets on complex measures that are all the various European countries will allow their governments to agree on. Country after country, parliament after parliament is raising its voice and saying thus far and no further. But Germany's "must" is Greece's "can't"; Nicolas Sarkozy's "essential" is Angela Merkel's "impossible"; Slovakia's red line is Spain's indispensable minimum.
September 15, 2011 |
With international pressure intensifying on European leaders, their ability to take more aggressive action to corral an escalating debt crisis is being hamstrung by public opposition to a bigger bailout. Thursday offered a respite from bad news, as the central banks of Britain, Japan, Switzerland and the U.S. joined with the European Central Bank to grant European banks easier access to cash. The banks have been pummeled by creditors wary of their ability to pay back money because of their exposure to the massive debts of countries such as Greece.