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ECB hands out $712 billion in loans to banks
European Central Bank makes second round of crisis loans to stabilize euro
By The Associated Press

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) ' The European Central Bank has made euro529.5 billion ($712.4 billion) in low-interest loans to banks in the second round of a massive credit infusion credited with easing the eurozone debt crisis.

The offer of credit for three years was taken up Wednesday by 800 banks. The uptake was modestly higher than the euro489 billion ($657.9 billion) handed out to 523 banks at a first offering on Dec. 21.

Banks used some of the money from the first round of loans to buy government bonds.

That lowered borrowing costs for hard-pressed governments struggling to maintain large amounts of debt, and eased fears of a market meltdown from Europe's troubles with too much government debt.

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