Italy’s Lombardian cross | By Marc Semo | As the most populated and wealthy region in the country, Lombardy will play a key role in the outcome of the Italian legislative elections scheduled for February 24 and 25. However, troubled by the lack of ethics among politicians, the region’s all-important Catholic vote is more undecided than ever.

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I-told-you-so graphs for ECB worshippers

By Luis Arroyo, in Madrid | Very briefly: for those who have let themselves fall for the euphoria that unfolded after the European Central Bank governor Mario Draghi reported on unlimited short-term sovereign bond purchases, I would like to remind them of what happened during the last weeks of 2011 and the beginning of 2012. Back then, the ECB introduced its long-term refinancing operations, which were meant to inject liquidity…

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European banks flee Greece

José Luis Marco, CAPITAL MADRID | Although Spanish banks have little direct exposure in Greece, the country over which hangs the euro zone exclusion threat, something different happens with several European banks: they have a direct interest in the Hellenic country both with their branches in the country and with the assumption of Greek sovereign debt. Some of the biggest banks are partners or shareholders of several Spanish banks. Banco…

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ECB’s help will reduce financing costs but also outstanding debt payment period

The mere announcement of an intervention by the ECB has already had a clear effect on the evolution of the yields on Spanish and Italian bonds in the shortest time. The Spanish two years bond that skyrocketed in July to 7.1%, has fallen to 3.072%. A very different story is however the 10 years bond, currently at 6.57%, far from the peak of 7.7% in July but still very high….


Wanna bet the ECB won’t disclose its plan?

Governments and markets are anxiously waiting for Draghi’s words to know what the ECB plans to do. They might be deceived by the lukewarm message he is likely to deliver. Central bankers have a keen expertise in saying as little as possible. Greenspan was an outstanding master in playing that game. Draghi while following his path, still needs some training to develop a fully persuasive oratory laden with a string…

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How long until core euro countries hurt?

The seemingly dead weight of the peripheral economies continues to mark a divide within the common currency region. The overall picture, unavoidably, registers the cut. GDP fell by 0.2% in both the euro area and the EU during the second quarter of 2012, compared with the previous quarter. Also according to flash estimates published by Eurostat Tuesday, in the first quarter of 2012, growth rates were zero in both zones. Compared with…


Don’t call it Spailout-Italbailout, there isn’t enough money

MADRID | In the dialectics of the confrontation about how much of a national rescue is the aid package being draft by Brussels for Madrid and Rome, politics has so far played the upper hand. Apparently, governments in Spain and Italy would attempt to depict any coming bailout under a different light than that of Greece, Ireland and Portugal so their parties can avoid the stigma of having failed their…