Peripheral-nation concerns hit Mario Draghi's radar again ahead of this week's ECB policy decision, as Portugal searches for a government and Greece gets scrutinised by its lenders - both amid an intensifying debate over the next ECB move to boost a reluctant euro zone recovery. Ivor Bennett reports.
Is this Portugal's Syriza moment? A leftist alliance including the Communist Party suddenly a realistic outcome from the political stalemate. Prompting concerns the country's reforms could unravel. And that's not all, says Admiral Markets' Darren Sinden. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) DARREN SINDEN, MARKET RESEARCH & CLIENT RELATIONS MANAGER, ADMIRAL MARKETS, SAYING: "If they do form a government, but it's an unstable one, we could be faced with elections again fairly quickly in Portugal. And I don't think anybody would like to see a situation that we saw in Italy not so long ago where we would have at least one new government a year." So too Greece, who could still have problems of its own. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras won't get the next bailout payment unless he satisfies lenders in Athens that reforms are on track. That and pass the next bill. IG's Alastair McCaig. SOUNDBITE (English) ALASTAIR MCCAIG, MARKET ANALYST, IG, SAYING: "This should be a relatively straightforward decision for the Greek parliament to make but, that said, common sense and straightforward decisions don't seem to be necessarily something that Greek politics has been particularly used to." The ECB no doubt hopes it is. With inflation now below zero, pressure is growing to act. The Bank of Spain Governor saying the ECB 'could' extend its asset-buying programme. Policymaker Ewald Nowotny suggesting additional measures are needed. But at that top table, splits seem to be emerging. Christian Noyer saying the mechanism is already bearing fruit. So who's right? SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) DARREN SINDEN, MARKET RESEARCH & CLIENT RELATIONS MANAGER, ADMIRAL MARKETS, SAYING: "There are still major areas of concern, for instance France. The second biggest economy in the euro zone still very much dead in the water from where I sit. So I think they need to do more, and they need to act quickly." All eyes then on Mario Draghi. The master of market management, as usual, keeping everyone guessing 'til the end.