At the end of July, with interest rates for both Spain and Italy highly volatile, ECB President Mario Draghi announced he would do "whatever it takes" to protect the euro. Using the indirect language favored by the heads of central banks around the world, he said the bank "may undertake outright open market operations of a size adequate to reach its objective." Draghi added that European Union officials should "stand ready" to also use their bailout fund in the bond market.
To many people's surprise, the plan works -- interest rates subside and Europeans head off for their annual August vacation
In September, Draghi makes another move that immediately pays dividends by pledging that the ECB will buy unlimited amounts of the government bonds of countries struggling to manage their debts. Even more impressive is that the vow has kept interest rates down without the lender so far having to spend any money to contain borrowing costs.