The European Central Bank yesterday pumped hundreds of billions of euros in one-year loans into the eurozone’s weakened banking system, making record amounts of emergency finance available in a bid to unlock credit markets and revive the region’s economies.

The move came as the US Federal Reserve pushed back against expectations of an early rise in US interest rates.

In a dramatic step dubbed 'stimulus by stealth' in financial markets, the ECB lent €442.2bn (£375.2bn) for 12 months to more than 1,100 banks at its current benchmark interest rate of 1%.

The high demand for the funds, in what was the ECB’s first auction for one-year loans, reflected a growing realisation by the banks that emergency funding may not be available again on such favourable terms.

Financial Times