Can the ECB avert catastrophe?

The ECB's loan program has helped avert a global liquidity crisis, but concern is growing that European banks are overdependent and will struggle when the cash needs to be repaid.

Financial markets, which are now severely addicted to central bank money printing, suffered a bout of disappointment overnight after US central bank boss Ben Bernanke signalled that he wasn’t in a hurry to start a new round of bond buying.

This disappointment came after an earlier bout of relief, after the European Central Bank again cranked up the printing presses overnight and provided 800 European banks with €529.5 billion ($US705.7 billion) in ultra cheap, three-year loans.

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