...Like it has been for the past 6 quarters...
European finance ministers revived the prospect of bond buybacks to ease Greece’s plight and declined to rule out a temporary default, struggling to contain the debt crisis as investors pounded Italy, the continent’s third-largest economy.
Prodded by investors and the European Central Bank, the euro’s guardians said a bailout fund set up last year may be used to buy bonds in the secondary market or enable Greece to retire its debt at a discount. They offered another cut in rates on its emergency loans.
As exploding bond yields in Italy and Spain brought the crisis closer to the heart of the euro area, Europe’s search for answers took it back to proposals that were scuttled by Germany earlier this year. After a nine-hour meeting, the 17 euro ministers issued a six-paragraph statement pledging to flesh out details of a new strategy to end the 21-month-old crisis “shortly,” without setting a timeline.
“There are a variety of ways of enhancing the flexibility,” European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn told reporters late yesterday after the ministers met in Brussels. Buybacks are “one of those. I would at this stage not exclude any option. But instead we are exploring these possibilities.”