By Tom Burgis and Esther Bintliff on the news desk in London with contributions from our correspondents around the world. All times GMT.
Another big day for “Super” Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank president. 800 banks borrowed a total of €529bn under the ECB’s liquidity programme — more than last time. We were watching too for ripples from Dublin’s decision to hold a referendum on the eurozone fiscal pact.
19.20: We’re going to wrap up the live blog for today, so here’s a final round-up of today’s events:
- In round two of the European Central Bank’s Long-Term Refinancing Operation (or LTRO), 800 European banks borrowed €529.5bn
- A larger number of banks borrowed money than last time (when 523 banks borrowed €489bn)
- About €310bn of net new liquidity was added to the system
- More than two thirds of the volume was taken up by banks in three countries, thought to be Spain, Italy and France. Among the biggest takers of funds was Italy’s Intesa SanPaolo, with €24bn, double the amount it took in the December operation. UK bank Lloyds is believed to have been the biggest non-eurozone taker of funds, receiving €11.4bn.
- In the markets, risk assets were initially firm on the back of the LTRO figures, but later fell back as Fed chairman Ben Bernanke spoke to Congress and dampened speculation that further monetary easing was on its way
- On the plus side, US growth data for the fourth quarter was revised upwards, from 2.8 per cent to 3 per cent
- The FT’s Brussels bureau chief Peter Spiegel got a copy of the draft conclusions from the EU council summit that begins tomorrow
- EU Commission president Barroso met with Greek prime minister Lucas Papademos – see our 17.58 update