Monday, April 29, 2013


Germany’s Bundesbank has issued a devastating attack on the bond rescue policies of the European Central Bank, rendering the eurozone’s key crisis measure almost unworkable.

The hardline central bank - known as the temple of monetary orthodoxy - told Germany’s top court that the ECB’s pledge to shore up Italian and Spanish debt entails huge risks and violates fundamental principles. “It is not the duty of the ECB to rescue states in crisis,” it wrote in a 29-page document leaked to Handelsblatt.

The Bundesbank unleashed a point by point assault on every claim made by ECB chief Mario Draghi to justify emergency rescue policies - or Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) - unveiled last summer to stop Spain’s debt crisis spiralling out of control.

The Draghi plan mobilized the ECB as lender of last resort and led to a spectacular fall in borrowing costs across the EMU periphery, buying nine months of financial calm. The credibility of the pledge rests entirely on German consent. Analysts say the crisis could erupt again at any moment if that is called into question.

“The report borders on economic warfare,” said Harvinder Sian from RBS. “We think there is going to be fear and dread in the market that the court will reject OMT.”

The document said OMT entails the purchase of “bad bonds”, violates ECB independence and entails a high risk of heavy losses in the “not unlikely” event that debtor states are forced out of EMU.