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Eurozone chief says banks in 'much better place' than few years ago

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Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said Thursday that the EU's single currency area and its banks were stronger than a few years ago, playing down concerns that have spooked global markets.

[BRUSSELS] Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said Thursday that the EU's single currency area and its banks were stronger than a few years ago, playing down concerns that have spooked global markets.

"I believe that in the eurozone, structurally, we are in a much better place than we were a few years ago. That also goes for our banks," Dijsselbloem said as he entered a meeting of finance ministers from the 19 countries that use the euro.

"The process of continuing to strengthen the banks will go on with banking union in place... the markets need to adjust to that, maybe that's part of the issue at the moment," the Dutch finance minister added.

"I think the process of banking union and making it stronger is key and that's what we are going to do in the coming months." European bank stocks were the catalyst for bruising declines in US and European equity markets earlier this week.

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But they posted big gains on Wednesday following unconfirmed reports that embattled Deutsche Bank may launch a bond buyback to assuage concerns about its financial strength.

The eurozone has been trying to bring in a form of "banking union" to match its single currency for years in a bid to avoid a repeat of the global financial crisis and eurozone debt crisis.

AFP

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