European stocks are expected to make healthy gains at the open following a report that Italy is seeking support in the bond market from China.
The report from the Financial Times helped Wall Street close higher and has supported Asian stocks. It claims Italy has asked for significant help from a number of Chinese sovereign wealth funds and investors.
Late on Monday news broke that US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will fly to Poland this week to attend a meeting of European finance ministers. The move indicates how seriously the United States is taking the euro zone debt crisis, given Geithner only left Europe on Saturday following a meeting of the G7 in Marseille.
Banking stocks in France where hit hard during Monday’ session on reports that ratings agency Moody’ is set to downgrade the three largest French banks amid fears over sovereign debt holdings the they hold.
One of those banks, Societe Generale, told CNBC on Monday that exposure to Greek debt was not an issue for the bank. CEO Frederic Oudea went on to say the bank had 41 billion euros in capital and can still raise money in the US market.
“There is this fear about the euro zone, and the need for the European banking system to adapt to new rules. But you can’t do that in just one day. And we have to have a transition period,” he said. “We will be very active in managing this transition period, but we need a minimum amount of time,” said Oudea.
Meanwhile the boss of Unicredit, the Italian banking giant, tells the Financial Times that he sees support for a capital hike if required.
CEO Federico Ghizzoni said he could increase core capital at the bank through “a rights issue, risk weighted asset reduction and asset sales”.
“I think the market is ready if you propose a credible plan,” said the Unicredit boss who has until now stayed out of a round of capital raising in Italy aimed at meeting new rules on capital requirements on schedule.