Despite the European Central Bank’s (ECB) efforts to ease escalating fears by buying up debts of Madrid and Rome, stock markets in Europe and Asia have continued to decline.
After an emergency meeting on Sunday, the ECB determined it would intervene in Italy and Spain by investing in European bond markets.
The ECB’s intervention came with a promise from the G7 nations to take “all necessary measures to support financial stability and growth," the Washington Post has reported.
European bond-buying had previously been limited to bonds from Greece, Portugal and Ireland, the three euro-zone countries that have already received international bailouts.
London economist with Deutsche Bank, Gilles Moëc, reported Sunday to the New York Times that the central bank’s move was “not a silver bullet,” especially considering the impact of the U.S. downgrade and lingering concerns about the economic recovery there.
The global trade outlook remains grim despite the actions of the ECB and pledges from world leaders, in light of the downgrade of U.S. debt by Standard & Poors.
Following Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the US rating to AA+, China in particular has been highly critical of the U.S. for failing to sufficiently deal with its $14 trillion debt problem.
S&P’s decision and China’s criticism comes after Wall Street experienced its worst week since the 2008 financial crisis, with the Dow Jones falling an alarming 512 points on Thursday.
Consumer confidence has been shaken since stocks began to decline, with $5.4 trillion being wiped off equity markets since July 26, in addition to the troubling European fiscal tightening and American unemployment issues.
The troubling trend has continued with stocks falling in Europe and Asia, the dollar continuing to weaken against major currencies, gold reaching unprecedented highs, and recent trading index futures suggesting a fall in stocks at the opening of Wall Street Monday.
The Obama administration announced Sunday that U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner would remain at his post through 2012, despite his offer to resign after the agreement last week to raise the debt ceiling.