World Bulletin / News Desk
Germany's conservative newspapers on Friday accused ECB chief Mario Draghi of writing a "blank cheque" to troubled euro zone states that could put the entire currency at risk, with top-selling Bild warning his policies could make the euro "kaputt".
The Italian president of the European Central Bank unveiled a new plan on Thursday to lower the borrowing costs of euro zone states like Spain and Italy by buying their bonds.
Germany's central bank opposes the ECB's move. Chancellor Angela Merkel has supported Draghi while insisting Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann's public criticism of the bond-buying has been useful too.
For the country's conservative newspapers, many of which have taken an increasingly euro-sceptic stance as the three-year-old euro zone debt crisis wears on, Draghi's latest measures went too far.
"Help without end for crisis countries," said Bild on its front cover, adding that Draghi had signed a "blank cheque" and that his policy endangered the independence of the ECB. It cited German politicians saying the ECB had gone beyond its mandate of safeguarding the stability of the currency.
"Draghi sets off Germany's alarm bell," was the headline in the conservative daily Die Welt.
Business daily Handelsblatt, which often voices concern at the financial burden of the bailouts on German taxpayers and business, had a cover story on "the Rise, Fall and Resurrection of the Bundesbank" and gave prominence to Weidmann's warnings.
Inside, Handelsblatt criticised "the democratic deficit of the euro rescuers" - and linked the ECB's chosen path to next week's ruling by Germany's Constitutional Court on the legality of the euro zone's new bailout mechanism and budget rules.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a sounding board for Germany's monetary hawks, wrote that "the border between monetary and fiscal policy has been blurred" and called the argument that bond-buying was within the ECB's mandate "far-fetched".
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, attending an awards ceremony for Draghi late on Thursday, reiterated the government line that using monetary policy to solve the euro zone's fiscal problems could not be a permanent solution.
But senior Merkel MPs like her deputy floor leader Michael Fuchs insisted the ECB was acting within its mandate, telling Reuters: "As long as there is conditionality, it is okay."
Volatility eased as traders focused on the world economy and corporate earnings after a week dominated by the dramatic spike in tensions over North Korea, which triggered a global sell-off before prices bounced back Monday.
Investors greeted the more conciliatory tone after US stocks dropped three days in a row last week on President Donald Trump's vow of "fire and fury" if North Korea continued to pursue its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
The ultra-conservative kingdom has moved to diversify its traditionally oil-dependent economy following a sharp fall in crude prices.
In its monthly report on the global oil market, the International Energy Agency said, however, that it believes the supply glut is easing, partly because demand is growing faster.
US stocks have been in retreat since President Donald Trump Tuesday issued a fiery warning to North Korea to halt its nuclear program.
The move by one of Japan's best-known firms greatly reduces the chance of an embarrassing delisting from the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE).
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index weakened by 0.5 percent to 7,503.39 points.
The approval by the European Commission comes just over two months after the European Central Bank -- which took on the role of the eurozone's banking supervisor in 2014 -- allowed the sale to go ahead for a symbolic fee of one euro.
BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell and Total have all published results in recent days, showing they pocketed $23 billion in net profit in the first half fo the year.
Higher cereal, sugar and dairy prices pushed food price index by 10.2 percent annually in July
HSBC was also a big riser, gaining three percent at £7.65 ($10, 8.5 euros) in late morning trade after the British banking giant announced a share buyback plan alongside a rise in first-half profits.
Both main crude contracts made strong gains, with WTI testing $50 a barrel for the first time since late May and Brent heading towards $53, while mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto saw their share price rise as commodities strengthened.