Bernanke ‘Dovish Again’ while ‘Growth Still a Problem’ in Europe

Euro zone finance ministers are due to meet this Friday where they are expected to agree an increase in the size of the single currency's so-called “firewall” by combining the existing temporary bailout fund with the new permanent one that launches in July, after Germany dropped its opposition to such a move.

"Everybody knows [the combined fund] is not going to be big enough," says Robert Crossley, head of European rates strategy at Citi.

"But less inadequate is a good thing."

"The euro zone remains insolvent," adds Jim Leaviss, head of retail fixed income at M&G Investments.

"Growth is still a problem."

Germany's Deutsche Bank meantime has overtaken France's BNP Paribas to become Europe's largest bank, as a result of adding to its assets while other banks have been shrinking their balance sheets, according to newswire Bloomberg.

The likelihood that the German government would support its largest bank in the event of a crisis was cited by Fitch in December when the ratings agency gave Deutsche a stable outlook.

"We haven't solved the too-big- to-fail challenge in this country," says Ralph Brinkhaus, a member of Germany's finance committee as well as chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party.

"That problem becomes all the more a matter of concern the bigger the bank is...and in the case of Deutsche Bank, is becoming."

A Morgan Stanley co-authored report has suggested that banks worldwide will look to reduce the size of their balance sheets by $1 trillion over the next two years.

Here in the UK, Abu Dhabi's ruling family is in talks with the British government about buying a stake in the 83%-taxpayer-owned Royal Bank of Scotland, news agency Reuters reports.

The gold price could "peak at well over $2000" an ounce, Mark Cutifani, chief executive of gold mining firm AngloGold Ashanti said Tuesday.

Turkey's central bank today raised the proportion of domestic currency reserves Turkish banks can hold as gold from 10% to 20%, while simultaneously lowering the proportion for foreign exchange reserves from 10% to zero.

Turkey is one of a number of countries facing current account deficits and exchange rate problems that have recently turned their attention to gold.

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Ben Traynor is editor of Gold News, the analysis and investment research site of gold ownership service BullionVault. He was formerly editor of the Fleet Street Letter, the UK's longest-running investment letter. A Cambridge economics graduate, he is a professional writer and editor with a specialist interest in monetary economics.

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About the Author
Ben Traynor

Editor of Gold News, the analysis and investment research site from world-leading gold ownership service BullionVaultBen Traynor was formerly editor of the Fleet Street Letter, the UK's longest-running investment letter. A Cambridge economics graduate, he is a professional writer and editor with a specialist interest in monetary economics.

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