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German minister dismisses talk of Spain debt purchases

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, pictured on July 19, threw cold water Saturday on speculation that the eurozone's bailout fund will buy Spanish public debt.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble threw cold water Saturday on speculation that the eurozone's bailout fund will buy Spanish public debt.

Spanish and French news reports have suggested that the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) would start buying bonds issued by Italy and Spain in a coordinated action with the European Central Bank.

"No, these speculations are unfounded," Schaeuble said in an interview with the German weekly Die Welt am Sonntag that is to appear on Sunday.

The ECB could resume its own purchases of sovereign bonds on secondary markets to ease pressure on borrowing costs for Rome and Madrid that have climbed to what many consider to be unsustainable levels.

Many economists have also begun to expect some kind of combined effort on the part of eurozone governments and the central bank, especially after ECB chief Mario Draghi said Thursday that the bank would "do whatever it takes to preserve the euro."

But Madrid has steadfastly rejected the notion of a financial rescue however, and ruled it out again on Friday.

"A bailout is not an option," government spokeswoman Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said.

The Spanish economic daily El Economista spoke on Wednesday of an overall plan worth 300 billion euros ($370 billion) that would allow Spain to finance its public deficit for at least a year and a half.

The eurozone has already approved up to 100 billion euros in aid for the Spanish banking sector.

Schaeuble told Die Welt am Sonntag that the Spanish government "has taken all necessary decisions and is putting them into effect."

The German minister said financial markets had not yet taken account of efforts made to resolve Spain's banking sector crisis, but added: "That will come."

Spanish banks were hammered when a property bubble burst in 2008, leaving lenders with massive amounts of debt that might never be paid back in full.