Thursday, October 11 09:44:03
The European Central Bank's pledge to buy the bonds of troubled euro zone members flooded a wave of relief across the bloc but investors are now waiting for action to match the words. Until Spain seeks help to lower its borrowing costs the ECB cannot intervene and doubts still surround Greece's bailout programme and how it can be reconstructed to look plausible. Following is a breakdown of the key events and dates that will govern the euro zone debt crisis up to the year-end.
OCT. 14 - Annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Tokyo. OCT. 15 - Portuguese government to present draft 2013 budget to parliament, featuring across-the-board tax hikes that have already prompted mass public protests. OCT. 18 - Spanish government bond auction. OCT. 18/19 - Summit of EU heads of state and government in Brussels. Looks too early for crunch decisions on Spain or Greece but there is a lot to debate. The president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, will deliver his interim report on overhauling Economic and Monetary Union, which will include guidelines on banking union, fiscal union and longer-term goals for tighter integration. Ideas for a single euro zone fund or budget will also be discussed.
OCT. 21 - Spanish regional elections in Galicia and for the Basques. It has been suggested that the government would delay asking for any form of bailout until they are out of the way. OCT. 24 - European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi appears before committees of Germany's lower house, the Bundestag, to address lawmakers' concerns about the ECB's plans for potentially unlimited purchases of debt issued by struggling euro zone states. Germany's central bank, the Bundesbank, has opposed the plans but Chancellor Angela Merkel supports it. OCT. 25/26 - Assessment of Irish bailout programme expected from EU/IMF troika. Few problems foreseen. OCT. 29 - Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy and Italian Prime Minister Monti meet in Madrid. OCT. 29/31 - Three days in which 20 billion euros of Spanish debt matures and will need to be refinanced. That looks like a daunting task for Madrid. OCT. 30 - Italian government bond auction. OCT. 31 - Portuguese parliament to vote on 2013 budget.
NOV. 4/5 - G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Mexico City. NOV. 7 - European Commission presents autumn forecasts for economies of EU member states, including analysis of developments in countries under support programmes. NOV. 8 - European Central Bank Governing Council meeting, followed by interest rate announcement and news conference. Spain holds government bond auction on the same day. NOV. 12 - Euro zone finance ministers meeting in Brussels, billed as the one which the EU/IMF/ECB inspectors' report on Greece will finally be ready, so big decisions could be made about Greece's future ... and maybe Spain's too.
NOV. 14 - Portuguese general strike organized by the country's largest union, CGTP. Italian government holds a bond auction. NOV. 15 - Flash third quarter GDP readings for the euro zone and most of its members, which will show whether there is any sign of economic recovery. NOV. 22 - Spanish government bond auction. NOV. 22/23 - EU leaders will attempt to overcome deep divisions over the shape of the bloc's next long-term spending plan for 2014-2020. Net contributors to the budget including Germany, France and Britain want to cut 100 billion euros from the Commission's draft budget proposal, but differ over which areas to cut. The main beneficiaries of EU funding such as Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic are likely to oppose cuts. Talk is gaining ground about a separate euro zone budget. NOV. 25 - Spanish regional elections in the powerful autonomous region of Catalonia. NOV. 29 - Italian government bond auction.
DEC. 3 - Euro zone finance ministers meeting in Brussels. DEC. 5 - Ireland unveils budget for 2013. DEC. 6 - European Central Bank Governing Council meeting, followed by interest rate announcement and news conference. DEC. 13 - Spanish government bond auction. DEC. 13/14 - EU leaders' summit in Brussels. Van Rompuy's final report on the future of Economic and Monetary Union to be delivered, including specific plans for a single banking resolution fund and a deposit guarantee scheme for the euro zone. DEC. 28 - Italian government bond auction. JAN. 2013 - European Commission hoping for a single banking supervisor under the ECB to be in place, although the deadline looks ambitious and is already widely in doubt. ( C) Reuters