European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said the ECB will offer banks additional cash as the region’s debt crisis spreads, increasing pressure on policy makers to resume bond purchases.
The ECB will lend euro-area banks as much money as they need for six months and extend its existing liquidity measures through the end of the year, Trichet said at a press conference in Frankfurt today after the ECB kept its benchmark interest rate at 1.5 percent. ECB rates are still “accommodative” and inflation risks “remain on the upside,” he said.
European officials are trying to stop the region’s sovereign debt crisis spreading to Italy and Spain. While the comments suggest the ECB is reluctant to shelve further rate increases, traders are looking for signs that the central bank will take direct steps to shore up the bonds of crisis-hit nations.
While acknowledging a “particularly high” level of uncertainty, Trichet said inflation expectations “must remain firmly anchored.”
The Swiss and Turkish central banks cut rates this week and the Bank of Japan announced additional stimulus measures as concerns mount about the weakening U.S. economy and Europe’s worsening crisis. The Bank of England kept its key rate at 0.5 percent today.
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