December 21, 2011

Banks took a huge 489 billion euros at the European Central Bank’s first ever offering of three-year funding on Wednesday, raising hope a credit crunch can be avoided and that the money may be used to buy Italian and Spanish bonds.

A total of 523 banks borrowed money at the tender with demand way above the 310 billion euros expected by traders polled by Reuters in the run-up to the operation.

The banks’ lunge for funding pushed the euro to a one-week high versus the dollar and sparked a rally in stocks.

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