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Europe’s Bond Traders Fear ECB Muzzling Its Most Powerful Tool

  • Lagarde stresses flexibility of pandemic bond purchase program
  • Italian bonds lead post-ECB losses as politics back in focus
Christine Lagarde
Christine LagardePhotographer: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images/Bloomberg
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Europe’s bond traders are wasting no time in showing European Central Bank’s President Christine Lagarde just how much they need the institution’s support, one day after she signaled the option of buying less debt, if warranted.

Italy’s debt markets are once again proving the focal point, on course for their worst week since April with fresh elections in the country still a possibility. That comes after Lagarde reiterated on Thursday that the central bank’s entire 1.85-trillion-euro pandemic stimulus package may not be needed. While she also said the program could “equally” be recalibrated, investors are concerned the message may translate into a slower pace of bond purchases.