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Markets bounce back after ECB president offers reassurances

Global markets bounced back today, after the turmoil of Wednesday's sell-off which saw £52 billion wiped off the value of top-flight shares in London.

The FTSE 100 Index lifted 100.2 points to 5773.8, after European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi told rattled investors there was "no limit" to measures it would take to steady the Eurozone area.

The ECB left its key interest rates untouched today and did not ramp up its existing 1.5 trillion-euro (£1.1 trillion) monetary stimulus programme.

But Mr Draghi's comments today, with the possibility of further money boosting measures in March were enough to boost world markets.

Mr Draghi said: "It will therefore be necessary to review and possibly reconsider our monetary policy stance at our next meeting in early March."

Europe is the UK's largest trading partner.

Germany's DAX and the Cac 40 in France were both up by around 2%. In New York the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped almost 200 points in early trading.

Trustnet Direct market analyst Tony Cross said: "There's no escaping the fact that word of fresh central bank stimulus from the ECB has helped provide a degree of stability for floundering equity markets on both sides of the Atlantic."

The London market briefly entered so-called bear market territory on Wednesday - meaning it fell more than 20% off last year's all-time high of 7,100.

Collapsing oil prices and worries over China's economy, which saw its slowest growth for 25 years in 2015, have seen markets endure a dire start to the new year.

The price of Brent Crude dipped below 27.50 US dollars a barrel on Wednesday, touching near 13-year lows, and despite a brief rally overnight it remained under pressure.

Oil prices have collapsed by more than 70% since their peak of around 115 US dollars a barrel in summer 2014, as large producers such as Saudi Arabia maintain production levels, putting US shale rivals under pressure.

The London market has seen around £160 billion wiped off the value of top-flight shares in the first three weeks of the year amid a gloomy outlook for global growth.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney said on Tuesday that policymakers were in no rush to raise interest rates amid a weakened world economy and slowing UK growth.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also slashed its growth forecasts for the next two years on Tuesday, citing easing growth in China and rising geopolitical tensions.

In its latest World Economic Outlook, the IMF predicted world growth of 3.4% this year followed by 3.6% in 2017.

This is a cut of 0.2% in each year from when the fund published its last forecasts in October.


From Belfast Telegraph