ECB's Noyer doesn't expect bigger EFSF
Oct 2, 2011, 7:01 p.m.
By Stanley White and Rie Ishiguro
TOKYO (Reuters) - European Central Bank member Christian Noyer said on Monday it is unrealistic to expect an increase in Europe's bailout fund beyond what was agreed in July, but that he is open to schemes that would allow leveraging to expand capacity.
Noyer, also head of the French central bank, also said French banks have been slow to lower their dependence on dollar funding, but policymakers are addressing the problem with dollar-liquidity operations.
Governments in Europe are passing measures to expand the 440 billion euro ($587 billion) European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) bailout fund by allowing it to make precautionary loans, help recapitalize banks and buy government debt in the secondary market.
This likely won't be enough as Europe's debt crisis has worsened since the European leaders first agreed the measures in July, economists, traders and the International Monetary Fund have said.
"Whether amounts are big enough is a matter of opinion," Noyer said in a speech.
"It would be unrealistic to expect an increase in the EFSF itself but I am personally open to any scheme that would allow existing commitments to be leveraged to provide greater intervention capacity."
Some European finance ministers have resisted a U.S. proposal to leverage the EFSF fund to expand its size even more.
Jitters over the spiraling European debt crisis, European banks' exposure to sovereign debt and a slowing global economy caused investors to slash their bets on risky assets in the July-September quarter, sending the common currency down almost 10 cents versus the dollar over the period.
Euro zone finance ministers meet this week to discuss more ways to help Greece, but few in the market are expecting aggressive measures to ring-fence other countries should Athens default on its debts.
Greece will miss a deficit target set just months ago in a massive bailout package, according to government draft budget figures released on Sunday, showing that drastic steps taken to avert bankruptcy may not be enough.
(Editing by Chris Gallagher)