EFSF

Tom Burgis

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

 

Tom Burgis

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

 

Esther Bintliff

Welcome to our continuing coverage of the eurozone crisis. Today’s summit in Brussels could, in years to come, be viewed as a turning point in the eurozone crisis. Or, it could be just one more extended meeting at which policymakers tried – and failed – to agree on a plan big enough to calm the storm in Europe’s sovereign debt markets. We’ll bring you news and commentary until the summit begins.

All times are London time. By Esther Bintliff and David Crouch on the world news desk in London, with contributions from FT correspondents around the world.

17.10: The summit is about to begin and we’re continuing in a fresh post: Eurozone crisis: the evening session.

16.45: A reminder of the timetable for tonight:

  • 17.00 – 18.00 (London time): the leaders of all 27 EU member states meet
  • 18:15 onwards: the summit of eurozone leaders begins

Statements and possibly a press conference are expected when the meetings close, but they will likely continue long into the night.

Stanley Pignal, Brussels correspondents, reports:

“EU leaders have been arriving for the first of tonight’s two meetings, which will involve all 27 member states before the eurozone-only leaders convene afterwards.

 

Slovakian PM Radicova listens to the leader of the Freedom and Solidarity Party Sulik. Credit: Petr Josek/Reuters Welcome to our continuing coverage of the eurozone crisis. All times are London time. By Esther Bintliff and John Aglionby on the world news desk in London, with contributions from FT correspondents around the world.

Today’s main events are in Greece – where the troika published a long-anticipated statement, and in Bratislava, where the Slovakian parliament is voting on whether to back the expanded eurozone rescue fund, the EFSF.

21.38: As we close up for the day, a markets update. The S&P 500 closed flat at 1,195.54 as investors remained cautious after the delay in the vote to expand the rescue package. The euro surrendered all gains and changed little against the dollar at $1.3642. That’s all from us.

21.30: Here is the latest FT story and Alphaville blog post.

21.20: Slovakia’s government has lost a confidence vote on a plan to bolster the EFSF rescue fund, toppling the government. But it is expected that the package will go through in a later vote with help from the opposition. Smer, the largest opposition party, said it would support the changes in a second vote. A total of 55 lawmakers of the 124 present backed the motion, falling short of the required majority of 76.

19.30: We’re going to take a little break on the blog now – but we’ll be sure to update you when (if?) the Slovak deputies vote. In the meantime, thanks for reading, and for all your comments! You can follow our coverage at ft.com and of course on twitter, @ftworldnews

19.20: European authorities plan to set a higher-than-expected capital threshold for the region’s banks and give them six to nine months to achieve that level or face government recapitalisations under the auspices of the eurozone’s €440bn rescue fund, senior regulators have told the FT. Patrick Jenkins in London, Ralph Atkins in Frankfurt and Peter Spiegel in Brussels report:

The European Banking Authority’s board of supervisors has approved in principle the idea that banks should be made to raise their core tier one capital ratios – the key measure of financial strength – to 9 per cent, well beyond the current expections of banks and analysts, even after absorbing writedowns on the value of their sovereign debt holdings.

Officials cautioned, however, that the 9 per cent threshold – which could see dozens of banks forced to raise a combined €275bn, according to Morgan Stanley estimates – is still being debated in national capitals and in Brussels.

Some senior officials at the European Commission, which is due to unveil its own plan for bank recapitalisations, support the higher levels and could announce their backing as early as on Wednesday.

Full story.

 

Welcome to our continuing coverage of the eurozone crisis. All times are London time. Curated by Esther Bintliff and John Aglionby on the world news desk in London, with contributions from FT correspondents around the world.

 

14.44: We’re now handing over to our colleagues on Money Supply, who are  liveblogging the testimony of Ben Bernanke, US Federal Reserve chairman, before Congress. Thanks for reading today and we’ll be back soon.

14.37: A quick round-up of today’s events:

  • Eurozone finance ministers postponed the disbursement of the next tranche of Greece’s bailout money until November
  • However, the Eurogroup also indicated they were preparing to paper over Greece’s failure to meet international lenders’ mandated budget targets for 2011, saying they would now evaluate Athens’ performance based on goals that combine both this year’s and next year’s finances
  • Jean-Claude Juncker confirmed that the eurogroup will review the losses imposed on private sector bondholders (mainly banks) as part of the Greek bailout agreed in July. Last week, the FT reported that as many as seven of the eurozone members wanted private creditors to swallow a bigger writedown on their Greek bondholdings
  • The French and Belgian governments stepped in to stem investor panic on Tuesday by saying they would guarantee loans made by Dexia, amid fears of a funding crisis at the Franco-Belgian bank
  • Shares in Deutsche Bank fell after it said it was going to take an approximately €250m impairment charge on its Greek sovereign debt holdings
  • Ireland’s central bank downgraded its growth forecasts for Ireland in 2012 (see our 13.15 update) while upgrading its forecast for 2011

 

Welcome to day four of our rolling coverage of the eurozone crisis.

All times are London time. Curated by Esther Bintliff and John Aglionby on the world news desk in London, with contributions from FT correspondents around the world.

19.20: We’re wrapping up the blog here, but many thanks for reading (and commenting). You can follow the rest of our coverage at ft.com/world and on twitter, @FTWorldNews

19.15: What are the chances of Greece being able to meet its commitment to cut the general government deficit from €24.1bn to €17.1bn this year?

It’s an incredibly tough task – equivalent to about 7.5 per cent of gross domestic product.

Kerin Hope, our Athens correspondent, has taken a good look at the numbers:

Greece faces a desperate catch-up effort to achieve this year’s budget targets after reporting the central government deficit widened an annual 22.2 per cent for the first eight months of this year.

Talks with international lenders, which resumed on Thursday, are intended to wrap up details of the 2012 budget and of structural reforms to reduce public sector spending so that Athens can receive its next €8bn slice of bail-out funding, according to Greek officials.

But the current shortfall in this year’s budget indicates new measures may be needed…

Read the full story here