If ECB sees market ‘panic,’ will activate debt shield, Visco says

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The European Central Bank needs to see signs of “panic” on bond markets to activate its debt-buying programme, ECB policymaker Ignazio Visco said on Thursday after a rise in Italy’s risk premium over Germany in recent days.

“This distance for the time being and the way it has developed does not call for substantial turmoil or something disorderly,” Visco, who is also governor of the Bank of Italy, said of Italy’s bond spread, currently at around 245 basis points.

“This is crucial: if tomorrow we start seeing 250, 55, 60 and so on – something that (means) there is panic in the market, we act and kill the panic.”

(This story corrects quote in final paragraph after Bank of Italy clarifies Visco meant “kill the panic” and not “kill the market”)

(Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)

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