At the end of last week, Spanish 10-year bond yields were close to 7 percent — actually higher than they were last fall, when the ECB stepped in with its big LTRO lending program, a program that bought time that European leaders proceeded to waste:
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said euro-zone countries must urgently implement decisions including government bond purchases agreed to in June as the country can’t finance its deficit under current conditions.
And the European Central Bank, which is the only entity really in a position to do what’s necessary, is, well:
The ECB lowered its benchmark rate to a record low 0.75 percent on July 5, disappointing investors who had predicted it might restart its government-bond buying program to ease stress on Spain and Italy. The central bank will only buy government debt if it considers it necessary to keep inflation on track, Benoit Coeure, an executive board member, said yesterday.
“If the governments decide to do it they should go ahead,” Coeure told a meeting of the Circle of Economists. “That doesn’t mean the ECB can’t buy Italian and Spanish debt on the market, but they’ll do it if it needs to for reasons of monetary policy and not otherwise.”