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Trichet’s Firepower Faces Test as Rout Withstands ECB Buying

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet may be forced to step up his fight against the sovereign debt crisis after a resumption of bond purchases yesterday failed to halt a rout in Italy and Spain.

Over opposition from Germany’s Bundesbank, Trichet yesterday sent the ECB back into bond markets as yields on Italian and Spanish yields soared, threatening the ability of the euro region’s third- and fourth-largest economies to borrow. As the sell-off continued, traders said the ECB purchased only Irish and Portuguese securities, suggesting the central bank is reluctant to put up the funds needed to tame a crisis it says governments are responsible for fixing.