European stocks closed in the positive territory Thursday, helped by encouraging signs in credit markets.
Bankers are refinancing $100 billion-plus of commercial paper debt maturing into next week without major troubles so far, but borrowers are facing shorter maturities and higher costs as liquidity and confidence remain in short supply.
The current turmoil makes a restart of the European Central Bank's tightening cycle uncertain. It will take months before financial markets return to normal.
The Swiss National Bank raised interest rates by 25 basis points on Thursday as inflation risks from the booming economy persisted but said it aimed to calm conditions on the money market, roiled by the global credit crisis.
Risks to global expansion have recently increased due to tensions in the U.S. subprime mortgage market and there are fears of growing spillovers to other segments, the European Central Bank said on Thursday.
European stocks closed higher on Wednesday, but uncertainty about the strength of the global economy still lingered and a series of political surprises caught investors off guard.
The European Central Bank lent commercial banks 75 billion euros ($104 billion) in three-month funds Wednesday, 25 billion euros more than in a previous operation last month, the bank said on its Web site.
The U.S. economy will slow next year amid continued trouble in the housing market, likely leading to lower interest rates, a senior International Monetary Fund official said Wednesday.
A consortium led by the Royal Bank of Scotland which is locked in a battle with Barclays to take over ABN Amro launched a website to explain to the Dutch bank's employees how the proposed merger would affect them.
European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said Europe's financial system is sound despite the current market correction, but more needs to be done to improve future financial stability.
Dutch telecom group KPN has officially launched its 6.25 euros per share offer for Dutch IT services company Getronics and said on Tuesday the offer period will run from Sept. 12to Oct 12.
Philips Electronics said on Monday it expects to double underlying earnings by 2010 by reorganising to cut costs and will keep returning billions of euros to shareholders, triggering a 4% rally in its shares.
Euro-zone interest rates have further to rise, European Central Bank Governing Council member Axel Weber said on Friday, although other policymakers stressed no move is imminent given uncertainty over the credit crunch.
The eurozone finance ministers' chairman said on Friday French President Nicolas Sarkozy was neither noble nor correct to claim some of the credit for the European Central Bank's decision to keep interest rates on hold.
EU ministers and national experts are due to approve a genetically modified (GMO) sugar beet variety this month despite a long running dispute over the use of biotechnology.
The European Central Bank kept its key monetary policy rate flat at 4% on Thursday due to persistent turbulence in the financial markets because of fears of a spillover of the U.S. subprime crisis.
Another rise in euro-zone interest rates looked assured last month, but the turmoil in the credit markets has brought pressure on European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet to keep rates at 4%.
The Bank of England broke its silence on Wednesday over the current storm engulfing world financial markets and took steps to bring overnight interest rates down.
Euro zone growth next year could be weakened by the credit crisis triggered by high-risk U.S. mortgage debt, the chairman of euro zone finance ministers, Jean-Claude Juncker, said on Wednesday.
A sharp drop in investment and government spending more than halved quarterly euro zone growth for April to June, but this is unlikely to stop further ECB interest rate rises as analysts expect the economy to pick up.