The euro strengthened against the US dollar this morning to $1.2146, a rise of 0.72%, after ECB policymaker Ewald Nowotny said the bank will have to boost the firepower of its fund to tackle the worsening debt crisis.
This raised hopes among investors that the ECB will intervene to reduce the risk of contagion in the region.
Mr Nowotny, a member of ECB policymaking committee and also head of Austria's central bank, said in an interview in Vienna that the ECB's permanent bailout fund should be given a banking licence, giving it unlimited access to ECB lending. The comments follow concerns that the European Stability Mechanism is not big enough to support a bailout for Spain, the region's fourth-largest economy. The reassuring comments calmed markets and strengthened the euro against the dollar.