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...led by France, Spain, Italy.

That should upset the Germans.

what chance of interest rate rises now?

Unfortunately the ECB is immune to growth risks and Trichet keeps repeating the mantra that they only have a single mandate, i.e. to maintain price stability. I remember a speech by Axel Weber (German member of ECB) late last year when he stated the ECB may have to increase interest rates even against a sharp economic downturn. The hawks are in a majority on the ECB Governing Council and it is notable that in the past 2 weeks, since the last ECB meeting, Governing members have failed to use the opportunity to express concerns about economic growth to the media and to try and downplay market assertions that another rate hike is imminent. Expect politicians to up the ante over the next 2 weeks.

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