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The relentless plunge of financial markets will lurch into a more dangerous phase that could take the global economy over the brink of disaster, unless the European Central Bank starts to buy up Italian debt.
The eurozone's central bank has not yet clearly signalled it is ready to move to buy up Italy's stressed government bonds amid deep divisions and opposition led by Germany's Bundesbank.
As European stock markets racked up their biggest losses for three years on Friday, Italy's government was forced into rash promises it might not be able to keep.
The alternative to pledging the rapid imposition of bitterly opposed spending cuts, as one Italian minister observed this weekend, was for Italy's government bonds to become as worthless as waste paper when the markets open on Monday.
THE Australian sharemarket is expected to suffer another horror day tomorrow after rating agency Standard & Poor's downgraded the US's credit rating and issued a scathing critique of Washington's ability to deal with its economic woes....
As Washington absorbed the demoralising decision, the downgrade was expected to send shockwaves through global financial markets still reeling from a volatile week fueled by concerns over a worsening debt crisis in Europe. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and French President Nicolas Sarkozy will call an emergency G7 meeting this week to discuss measures to tackle the debt woes destabilising European economies.