The European Central Bank, as expected, left rates unchanged at 1 percent...and ECB President Mario Draghi refused to comment on Greece. Draghi did say there was a modest pickup in bank lending since the first three-year debt facility at the end of December.
On Greece, the deadline to tender is 3 p.m. ET today; the Greeks will announce the results at 1 a.m. ET Friday. Italy's Prime Minister, Mario Monti, said over 60 percent of Greece's private debt holders have expressed interest in tendering their bonds.
Greek unemployment in December rose to 21 percent from 20.9 percent a month earlier, a new high.
Importantly, Draghi raised the 2012 forecasts for inflation to between 2.1 percent and 2.7 percent. That matters: It means inflation will be above 2 percent in 2012 (with upside risks prevailing). This will make it more difficult for them to lower interest rates further.
1) The beginning of the end for the dollar? Here's an item getting some chatter: China is about to sign an agreement with all the major developing countries to offer loans to them...in renimbi. Not dollars.
The agreement is to be signed on March 29, according to the Financial Times, between China and India, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa.
China said last year it wanted to diversify away from the dollar. Now they are doing it.Page 1 of 4 | Next Page