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Did Merkel just hint at a breakthrough for the banks?

Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hold a joint press conference in Berlin Photo:

No one would look back and describe it as the most dramatic statement in the world. But did Mrs Merkel just drop a big fat hint of a breakthrough for the wobbling European banking sector?

During a press conference with David Cameron she said "we, (Germany), are ready to back the use of euro-area instruments."

It appears in that rather arcane language that she may have been indicating that finally she is ready to move towards the kind of solution that has been such a cause of agony in the Eurozone in recent weeks.

One trader I've been speaking to has just described it as "big news", interpreting this as potentially a move towards a bailout for Eurozone banks using the power of the bailout fund (the EFSF) that has already been built up, or even an issue of eurobonds - essentially IOUs to the markets signed by all the eurozone governments.

That could be an answer that would save Spain from the humiliation of a total bailout.

Mrs Merkel this morning said that the situation will be dealt with "step by step", but perhaps those words in the last few minutes suggest the next big move is closer than we might have thought.

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