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Germany's Axel Weber responds to ECB rumours

Axel Weber
Image caption Mr Weber does not agree with the ECB's policy of buying European government bonds

German central bank boss Axel Weber has responded to widespread rumours that he will not put his hat in the ring to replace Jean-Claude Trichet as head of the European Central Bank (ECB).

He said he would discuss the issue with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"We will take the necessary decisions in close consultation," he said.

Mr Weber was seen as a front runner to succeed Mr Trichet, who steps down this year, but recent speculation suggested he may not want the job.

Policy differences

Mr Weber has been vocal in his opposition to the ECB's policy of stepping in to buy government bonds from countries with high debt levels - bonds that would normally be bought by international investors.

The bank bought Portuguese government bonds on Thursday after yields rose to record highs in early trading, sparking renewed fears about Portugal's ability to raise money on the international markets.

Yields fell quickly after the ECB's intervention.

Opposition to this policy puts Mr Weber at odds with many European central bankers. However, he does hold the advantage of running the central bank of Germany, Europe's strongest economy.

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