LTRO

Welcome back to our live coverage of the eurozone crisis. By Tom Burgis and Esther Bintliff on the news desk in London with contributions from our correspondents around the world. All times GMT.

18.58 That’s about it for the live blog today. Follow FT.com through the evening for all the news from the summit and analysis of the day’s developments. Before we go, a quick recap:

  • Eurozone finance ministers held back more than half of Greece’s €130bn bail-out on the grounds that Athens has yet to jump through all the hoops lined up by its international creditors. That money could be released as soon as next week, though, and the ministers did sign off on a package of incentives and instruments to underpin a debt restructuring deal with private investors in Greek bonds
  • ISDA, the industry body that decides what is and is not a “credit event”, ruled that the Greek debt restructuring does not constitute one – or not yet, at any rate. That means that $3.25bn of credit default swaps on Greek government bonds do not pay out – unless ISDA comes to a different view at a later date. The decision could have significant knock-on effects in the market for CDS, which serve as insurance against a sovereign default.
  • There was more fallout from the Irish plan to hold a referendum on the eurozone’s fiscal compact, following the resignation of Fianna Fail’s deputy leader – and an apparent threat to execute a kitten (see 15.22)
  • Unemployment in the 17-member eurozone jumped to an all-time high of 10.7 per cent in January, new data showed
  • Spain held another successful bond auction and Italian yields fell too

And we leave you with a little light reading on the travails of Greece and one line — perhaps unfair, given today’s progress — that’s been raising wry smiles on Twitter.

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/sickipediabot/status/169089627783827457"]

18.55 As expected, Herman Van Rompuy is elected for another term as president of the European Council.

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/euHvR/status/175291547821158401"]

18.18 Now the finance ministers have done their work — well, some of it — it’s over the Europe’s leaders for the summit proper. Once again, all lenses on Germany’s Angela Merkel.

Angela Merkel arrives at the EU summit

Angela Merkel arrives at the EU summit in Brussels (Photo: AP)

17.58 Earlier, Bill Gross, the manager of Pimco, the world’s largest bond fund, was to be heard fulminating against ISDA’s decision not to deem the Greek restructuring a “credit event”, thereby preventing credit default swaps from paying out (15.27).

Our hawk-eyed colleagues at FT Alphaville have, however, been studying the list of the ISDA members that voted unanimously against calling a credit event. Check the last name….

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Mario

Still super, Mario?

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