The European Central Bank An unscheduled monetary policy meeting was announced on Wednesday, at a time when bond yields for many governments across the eurozone are soaring.
“They will hold a special meeting to discuss current market conditions,” a central bank spokesman told CNBC.
Borrowing costs for many governments have risen sharply in recent days. In fact, a gauge known as the Fear Barometer in Europe — the difference between Italian and German bond yields that investors are widely watching — has widened the most since early 2020 earlier on Wednesday.
return on Italian government bonds for 10 years It also crossed the 4% mark earlier this week.
The moves in the bond market, which highlight tension among investors, have been linked to concerns that the central bank will tighten monetary policy more aggressively than previously expected.
Meanwhile, the European Central Bank failed last week to provide any details on possible measures to support heavily indebted eurozone countries, adding to concerns among the investment community.
The market reaction so far indicates that some market players expect the European Central Bank to address concerns about financial fragmentation and is already providing some clarity on what kind of measures it might take to support heavily indebted countries.
The European Central Bank’s decision to meet on Wednesday also comes just hours before the interest rate decision by the US Federal Reserve. Market expectations are for a rate hike of 75 basis pointsthe largest increase since 1994.
Speaking to CNBC’s Karen Tso on Wednesday, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said he is not worried if the Fed’s moves will affect economic growth in France.
“The main point now and in the coming months is to lower the level of inflation,” he said.
Wednesday’s announcement came on the heels of a speech by a central bank member aimed at addressing some of the recent market volatility regarding financial fragmentation.
“Our commitment to The euro is our anti-fragmentation tool. This commitment has no limits. Our track record of intervening when needed supports this commitment.”
One of the most defining moments in ECB history occurred in 2012 when former President Mario Draghi said the central bank would do “whatever it takes” to protect the single currency. Many also saw the European Central Bank progressing big and fast in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Financial fragmentation is a risk to the eurozone. Although the 19 members of the Eurozone have different financial capabilities, they share the same currency. As such, instability in one country can spread to other euro capitals.
“We will respond to new emergencies with existing and potentially new tools. These tools may look different again, with different circumstances, duration and safeguards to remain firmly within our mandate. But there can be no doubt that, if necessary, we can and will design and deploy tools new to secure monetary policy transmission and then our primary mandate for price stability,” Schnabel said on Tuesday.
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