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Business

Market nervousness increases over crucial ECB meeting

Stock markets in Europe have seen very cautious trading today as investors are eagerly awaiting a crucial ECB meeting on September 6. But hopes of central bank action are limited in the face of public debate.

Mounting caution gripping investors ahead of an important meeting by the European Central Bank (ECB) on Thursday saw share markets across Europe open lower on Wednesday morning.

Analysts have been expecting ECB President Mario Draghi to unveil plans to tackle the eurozone's debt crisis by resuming a controversial bond-buying program, but disputes among policymakers over the legitimacy and the extent of such a measure have added to market nervousness.

Signs of slower factory activity in the US, Asia and Europe have been adding to the jittery mood, making ECB action to ease monetary policy seem a top priority.

Nagging doubts

Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen told reporters in Tokyo that Europe needed to find a sustainable solution to its protracted debt crisis. He said throwing money at the problem would not work.

"We don't believe in a solution which is paid by cash only," Katainen said while warning the European Central Bank was not capable of miracles and could not produce a magic bullet on Thursday.

"We cannot expect the ECB to do miracles, because they have to follow their rules," he added.

At a business meeting of the German daily Handelsblatt in Frankfurt, Commerzbank Chief Executive Martin Blessing also warned against an unlimited purchase of sovereign debt by the ECB, indicating that such a move would run foul of the bank's rules.

"I don't think that a breach of law would go towards creating more trust and confidence in the long run and would be able to facilitate a strong fiscal union," Blessing said.

hg/sej (Reuters, AFP, dapd)