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Today we finally got some hard details on the much-anticipated ECB sovereign bond-buying plan. And US markets reveled in the certainty of a currency more important than dollars or euros: confidence.
ECB President Mario Draghi spoke clearly and forcefully at today's press conference...
This plan“will enable us to address severe distortions in government bond markets which originate from, in particular, unfounded fears on the part of investors of the reversibility of the euro. Under appropriate conditions, we will have a fully effective backstop to avoid destructive scenarios with potentially severe challenges for price stabilityin the euro area.”
Andwhile the ECB is not truly printing new money ala Fed-style QE (since the transactions on the ECB balance sheet will be "sterilized," there will be no increase in the money supply), they also are not handing over money to Spain and Italy and whoever else needs...
“Governments must stand ready to activate the EFSF/ESM in the bond market when exceptional financial-market circumstances and risks to financial stability exist -- with strict and effective conditionality,” Mr. Draghi said.
In other words, they still have to ask for help and agree to conditions for that assistance. Plus, the ECBcan terminate bond purchases if governments don’t fulfill theiragreements.
But despite lots of unity among ECB members and decision-makers, there is also some dissent from the old guard in Germany. As Matthew Brockett and Jeff Black reported for Bloombergthis morning...
Germany's Bundesbank was the sole objector to Draghi’s plan on the ECB’s 23-member Governing Council. Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann issued a statement after Draghi’s press conference saying the bond program is “tantamount to financing governments by printing banknotes” and may encourage them to postpone necessary reforms.
So, Super Mario has lived up to his words of "whatever it takes" and "believe me... it will be enough."
But will it? The ECB’s program, called Outright Monetary Transactions, will targetgovernment bondswith maturities of one to three years, including longer-dated debt that has a residual maturity of that length. Does this quell the bond vigilantes attacking 5, 7, and 10-year paper?
So I ask you...
Is this plan a crisis game-changer for Europe?
Is our market that has been "waiting to go higher," confirmation of this?
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