Italians cast their ballots in a tight election, with Brussels, Berlin and the markets looking on. By Tom Burgis, Lina Saigol, Ben Fenton and Shannon Bond with contributions from FT correspondents across Italy and beyond. All times are GMT. 

It’s the first day of the World Economic Forum. We’ll keep you up to date. By Tom Burgis, Claire Jones and Ben Fenton in London with dispatches from FT correspondents in Davos. All times are GMT.

 

18.26 That’s it for the first day of Davos live.

Among the talking points were monetary policy, currency wars and that speech by David Cameron.

The British PM arrived in Switzerland today and is due to talk at 10.30am local time (9.30am UK time) tomorrow.

18.03 Unsurprisingly, the “resilient dynamism” (see 10.09) theme of this year’s Davos hasn’t gone down too well with the British press pack:

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/ChrisGiles_/status/294134384917872640"]

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/jeremywarnerUK/status/294135685995184128"]

17.48 The IMF’s managing director Christine Lagarde took the stage after Mario Monti and she’s just taken a swipe at Cameron:

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/ChrisGiles_/status/294138878732951552"]

17.40 Gideon Rachman’s analysis of the Italian PM’s reaction to Cameron’s speech:

Gideon Rachman: His line that Europe does not need reluctant Europeans will be spun as anti-Cameron. But, in context, I think Monti was trying to be positive.
The Italian PM said Cameron was right that “prosperity and growth have to be priority number one” and that he was confident “Britain will vote to stay inside” in the event of a referendum. He also said it’s good that Cameron will ask the “fundamental” question of whether nations are in or out and that this will provoke Brits to make a proper analysis of costs and benefits.

 Read more


Welcome to our live coverage of the eurozone crisis. We’ll bring you all the developments. By Tom Burgis and Ben Fenton in London with contributions from FT correspondents across the world. All times are GMT.

 

 

17.37: As the EU’s political leaders get down to talks, we are closing down the live blog for today, but it will be up again bright and early tomorrow to pick up on whatever is decided overnight. Meanwhile, elsewhere on FT.com you’ll be able to find coverage of the summit kept fresh by our sleep-deprived Brussels team.

17.29 More bleak news for the UK’s Triple A credit rating, via FT markets editor Chris Adams:

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/chrisadamsmkts/status/279275102162522112"]

17.24 More twists and turns in this tale of what said what to whom about the Italian elections at the centre-right EPP’s pre-summit meeting today (see 15.49 and 17.06).

Antonio Tajani, the Italian EU commissioner and a Berlusconi ally, is quoted by Italian news agency Adnkronos as saying that none of the leaders of the EPP “expressly asked Monti to be a candidate”.

“Everyone spoke well of Monti but no one wants to interfere.”

 Read more

President Barack Obama at a rally in the swing state of Ohio. (AFP/Getty)

Welcome to the US election news round-up on the day that the candidates switched from sparring over military planning to blitzing the battlegrounds of the ‘burbs.

The debates are done. A fortnight from now, we’ll know whether Mitt Romney has evicted Barack Obama from the White House. Unless, of course, it’s 2000 all over again and the nail-chewing lasts for 36 days.

So narrow are the margins in some states that 10 are “toss ups”, according to the rolling average of polls by RealClearPolitics.com. All 10 voted for Obama in 2008, including four – Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Nevada – that he won with double-digit margins. Read more

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama duel during the first presidential debate

Photo: Getty

Good morning and welcome to the daily presidential election news coverage round-up. As the dust settles after last night’s opening debate between the candidates in Denver, the consensus is: first blood to Mitt Romney. The question is whether that will translate into helping the challenger narrow Barack Obama’s lead in the polls. That will take a day or two to emerge. But an immediate CNN poll gave the spoils emphatically to the Republican hopeful, with two-thirds of respondents deeming Romney the victor and only a quarter handing the bout to Obama.

After he came out aggressively in a debate that featured more sparring over economic policy detail than rhetorical pile-drivers, Politico.com concludes that:

What Romney definitely did was earn himself a second look from the slim pool of undecided and persuadable voters still considering their options, and give himself a tighter messaging framework to use, if he is able to, before the next debate in New York two weeks from now.

 Read more

Welcome to our rolling coverage of the eurozone crisis. German judges have ruled in favour of the eurozone’s rescue plans – albeit with conditions, Dutch voters are going to the polls and Brussels publishes plans for eurozone-wide banking supervision. By Tom Burgis, John Aglionby and Ruona Agbroko on the London  newsdesk with contributions by FT correspondents around the world. All times are BST.

16.51 That’s a wrap for our live coverage of a big day in the eurozone. The message of the past week seems to be: all hail the ECB. See ft.com for more news and analysis through the evening. We leave you with a last summary of the market mood from Ralph Atkins, the FT’s capital markets editor.

Markets have reacted positively to today’s news but it had largely been priced-in – the party took place last week. Spanish 10 year bond yields which have fallen by some 200 basis points since late July dropped a further six points. Spanish two year bonds were down 10 basis points. Shares rose initially, but the FTSE Eurofirst 300 index is closing more or less unchanged at 1108.0.

16.26 In Frankfurt, FT bureau chief and eurozone economics guru Michael Steen has been assessing the impact for the ECB of moving into the murky world of banking regulation.

By taking on oversight of eurozone bank supervision, the ECB can at best hope to prevent situations arising in which a bank needs to be bailed out and its depositors repaid. But, as people inside the ECB have themselves acknowledged, supervision is very far removed from the intellectual world of setting interest rates.

“When you deal with banks, you deal with politics. Automatically,” one senior ECB official said. “It’s very dangerous.”

The full piece is coming soon to ft.com/europe Read more

At least five Iranian scientists believed to have links to the country’s nuclear programme have been attacked in the past two years, four of them fatally.

Iran maintains that its nuclear programme is for civilian purposes; western powers say Tehran is seeking to develop atomic weapons. Read more

David Cameron arrives for the EU summit. Photo: Eric Feferberg/AFP

Welcome back to our live coverage of the eurozone crisis. By Tom Burgis and Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura on the  newsdesk in London, with contributions from FT correspondents around the world. All times are GMT.

A summit  in Brussels ended in deep division, with the UK refusing to back a new treaty for all 27 EU members and leaving the eurozone countries plus at least six others to forge ahead with a pact of their own to enshrine strict new rules on deficits and debt. It was meant to be the summit that would decisively chart a course out of the eurozone’s debt crisis. 

19.03 That’s the end of our live coverage today. We’ll leave you with a quick summary of the day’s developments. See FT.com for more news and analysis through the evening.

  • The European Union’s 27 leaders, minus David Cameron, struck a deal in the early hours to draw up a treaty by March that would bind them to strict new rules on debt and deficits, with automatic sanctions for countries that break them
  • The UK courted isolation as it refused to sign up to a treaty for all 27 members after David Cameron’s early-hours pitch for safeguards to protect UK financial services met a chilly reception from his counterparts
  • Markets were volatile before a tentative rally lifted equities in Europe and the US. The euro strengthened against the dollar but yields on Italian and Spanish bonds climbed once again
  • The IMF welcomed the European deal, which included €200bn for the fund to ensure it has enough cash to deal with any more fallout from the eurozone crisis, with Christine Lagarde, its head, saying she was “hopeful that others will also do their part”

 Read more

Welcome back to our live coverage of the eurozone crisis. By Tom Burgis on the  newsdesk in London, with contributions from FT correspondents around the world. All times are GMT.

18.25 That’s the end of our live coverage of the eurozone crisis today. We’ll be back tomorrow morning for a day that includes the ECB rates decision and Mario Draghi’s press conference, as well as the meeting of centre-right European leaders in Marseille ahead of the start of the EU summit in Brussels in the evening. And, just as the leaders tuck in their napkins for a working dinner, the European banking authority will unveil the details of which banks need to raise what capital.

We’ll leave you with a round-up of today’s developments. Read more

A tram passes the euro sign sculpture in front of the European Central Bank ( ECB) in Frankfurt, Germany. Photographer: Hannelore Foerster/Bloomberg

Welcome to our continuing coverage of the eurozone crisis. All times are GMT. By Tom Burgis, James Crabtree and John Aglionby on the news desk in London, with contributions from FT correspondents around the world.

The turmoil in the eurozone has taken a troubling turn in recent days, with anxiety spreading from Europe’s periphery to its “core” countries. Even as Italy’s Mario Monti readies his economic agenda to be presented today, investors are looking at France, the Netherlands and Austria with increasing unease and wondering whether the ECB might yet ride to the rescue. Over in Greece, today is the anniversary of 1973′s mass student protests – with demonstrators once more planning to take to the streets. And the bond markets are showing ever more strain, with today’s Spanish bond auction souring sentiment still further. Read more

Nicolas Sarkozy, French president and G20 host, blows a kiss to someone – presumably not the Greek prime minister (AFP/Getty)

  • Welcome back to the FT’s live coverage of the eurozone crisis. By Tom Burgis and John Aglionby on the news desk in London, with contributions from correspondents around the world. All times are GMT.

One issue dominates the agenda for as the Group of 20 leading economies enters its second and final: the fate of the eurozone amid the turmoil in Greece.

16.41: That’s it for the live blog for today. See FT.com over the coming hours for news and analysis on the G20 summit, Berlusconi’s woes and the outcome of tonight’s Greek vote.

16.31: Before we wind up the live blog, a brief re-cap of the day’s developments

  • The IMF is to monitor Italy’s progress on promises to reform its economy
  • Italian bond yields rose to fresh euro-era highs as Berlusconi said he was going nowhere
  • The Italian PM insisted his majority at home was “solid”, though it looks anything but
  • The G20 summit in Cannes ended with plenty of rhetoric urging the euorzone to get its house in order but no actual cash to help it do so
  • Any decision on boosting the IMF’s resources to help tackle the crisis was put of until when G20 finance ministers meet in February
  • Greek MPs are debating a vote of confidence in the government and will vote at midnight Athens time, 10pm London

 Read more

 

Getty

Welcome back to the FT’s live coverage of the eurozone crisis. By Tom Burgis and John Aglionby on the news desk in London, with contributions from correspondents around the world. All times are GMT.

One issue dominates the agenda for today and tomorrow’s summit of the Group of 20 leading economies: the fate of the eurozone amid the turmoil in Greece.

This post should update automatically every few minutes, although it may take longer on mobile devices.

19.30: And what will tomorrow bring? Who knows. It’s day two of the G20 summit, the confidence vote in the Greek parliament and the US non-farm payrolls (monthly unemployment data) are announced.

Thanks for all your comments and tweets today – especially the song suggestions! For further updates from the late-night meetings in Cannes follow ft.com Read more

Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the eurozone crisis. In the early hours of the morning, eurozone leaders emerged from their summit in Brussels with a deal designed to stem the sovereign debt crisis. The markets seem pleased but big questions on the details remain. We’ll bring you reactions, news and commentary as we get it throughout the day.

All times are London time. By Tom Burgis on the news desk in London, with contributions from FT correspondents around the world.

18.34: It’s time to wrap up the live blog for today. But keep reading FT.com through the evening for:

18.13: Der Spiegel has a nice tale about whether or not Angela Merkel did in fact apologise to Silvio Berlusconi for appearing to smirk when asked publicly if she still had faith in his leadership.

18.07: Chatham House has just published a paper arguing that international debt bailout systems are ill-equipped to handle any further instability.

“As the problems in the eurozone deepen and threaten to spread globally, action is required to strengthen financial safety nets beyond what was agreed by EU Heads of State on 27 October 2011.”

Read the full report by Stephen Pickford, former managing director at the UK Treasury and former executive director at the IMF.

18.00: An evening update of the day’s developments:

  • At the end of trading in Europe, the FTSE Eurofirst 300 finished 3.69 per cent higher for the day at 1,020. US stocks rose too, with GDP numbers that matched expectations adding to a positive reception for the EU’s moves
  • Despite the ebullience in equities markets, concerns remained over soveriegn debt in the eurozone. Italian government bond yields first sank to 5.7 per cent, before rebounding to 5.9 per cent, near their euro-era highs
  • Questions remain over the details of the eurozone deal, notably over the terms of the new bonds that will replace existing Greek debt as part of the agreed 50 per cent “haircut” (see 13.17), how banks will go about raising new capital and where the cash to fund the various eurozone plans will come from
  • European officials are keen to involve China and other Bric nations in a fund to buy eurozone debt, though here too there are no firm plans yet

 Read more

Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the eurozone crisis as we head into the evening. Europe’s leaders have gathered in Brussels to try to deliver a solution to the sovereign debt crisis. It has been a nervy day in the markets and national capitals – all of which you can read about on our live coverage from earlier on. Tonight we should discover whether Europe’s leaders can overcome their differences and chart a course towards recovery or whether they will once again fail to reach a deal. We’ll bring you news and commentary as we get it.

All times are London time. By Tom Burgis on the news desk in London, with contributions from FT correspondents around the world.

22.38: We’re going to wrap up our live coverage from London now. But fear not, the FT reporters at the summit will not rest until we have an outcome from the evening’s second summit, of all 17 eurozone leaders. See ft.com for all the latest news.

It seems only right to give the final word on today’s developments to Justin Timberlake, whose new film, In Time, has the strap line: “Tomorrow is a luxury you can’t afford.” Over the coming hours we’ll discover whether European leaders – and the markets – share that sentiment.

22.35: A quick recap on what we know so far

  • The 27 EU leaders agreed a statement as per a leaked draft, fleshing out some headline details of how the bank recapitalisation will work
  • Silvio Berlusconi’s letter to his fellow eurozone leaders included a commitment to raise the Italian retirement age to 67
  • Nicolas Sarkozy will call his Chinese counterpart tomorrow in what seems to be part of efforts to win Chinese investment for a fund to buy eurozone debt
  • US markets dealt with all of this pretty calmly, finishing the day in the black

 Read more