7 Sep 2012

European Bank reveals euro debt plan

6:06 am on 7 September 2012

The head of the European Central Bank (ECB) has unveiled details of a new bond-buying plan aimed at easing the euro zone's debt crisis.

The ECB aims to cut the borrowing costs of debt-burdened eurozone members by buying their bonds.

Bank president Mario Draghi says the scheme would provide a fully effective backstop aimed at preventing the disintegration of the euro zone.

Mr Draghi says the ECB's actions are in response to eurozone economic contraction in 2012, with continued weakness likely to continue into 2013.

The ECB would engage in outright monetary transactions (OMTs) to address severe distortions in government bond markets based on "unfounded fears", he said.

The transactions will only be carried out in conjunction with European Financial Stability Facility or European Stability Mechanism programmes, he said.

The BBC reports countries will still have to request a bailout before the transactions are triggered.

European stock markets have reacted positively to the announcement with gains on Thursday though the euro fell back against the dollar to $US1.2571 following its high of $US1.265 reached before the ECB announcement.