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Fingers crossed for Euro success

Crisis averted, or at least that's what everyone's hoping. It's not just the leaders of the eurozone countries who will have their fingers crossed that the measures taken to try and sort out the limping European economy will work, it's also the rest of us.

Everyone from Belfast to Bermuda, Dungannon to Dakar and Portrush to Port au Prince will be hoping the economy, which is technically the biggest in the world, has at least been stopped from deteriorating further and maybe even nursed back to a semblance of health.

Stock markets soared yesterday in the wake of the three-pronged announcement, which involves Greek creditors taking a haircut of 50%, an increase in the emergency bailout fund and recapitalisation of the region's banks.

But without wanting to talk my own book, don't be getting carried away just yet because back in June a not dissimilar package of measures proved to have negligible effect.

It will all come down to confidence. There's certainly been less triumphalism at the announcement of this round of measures despite the markets being in a generous mood.

That's because for the extended European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) to work, lenders will need to have confidence that the bonds of Italy, Spain and the Republic are worth the paper they're written on.

The new insurance being offered by the EU is all very well, but the days of accepting a borrower's word as its bond have long since passed. These details still need to be ironed out, but could be enough to tip the balance between success and failure.

Let's hope it succeeds because Northern Ireland exports £2.6bn worth of goods each year. The last thing we need is for that to be squeezed further.


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