Eurozone Agrees to Huge Spain, Italy Bailouts

Massive action would dwarf those in Greece, Ireland, Portugal
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2011 1:20 PM CDT
Updated Aug 7, 2011 4:18 PM CDT
European Central Bank Mulls Vast Bond Buys to Bail Out Italy, Spain
The European currency Euro logo stands in front of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, on August 4, 2011.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Europe's central banking system has agreed to buy huge quantities of Spanish and Italian government bonds in an attempt to stem the debt crisis overwhelming the eurozone, a source told Reuters after an ECB conference call today. “The Euro system will intervene very significantly,” the source said. He didn’t say how much the bank would pour into the spend, but it’s expected to dwarf the $115 billion spent on Greek, Irish and Portuguese bonds. One economist told the Wall Street Journal that "respectable arguments can be made for ($331 billion to $576 billion) of purchases."

Debate over the matter was intense, with one French official calling the ECB out: "Guardian of the euro, she must intervene massively on the debt market to avoid the implosion of the zone." Opponents, meanwhile, questioned whether intervention even works: Despite the aforementioned bond purchases in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal, all three retain junk-bond status, with Greece still teetering on collapse. (Read more European Central Bank stories.)

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