Gently does it. As expected the European Central Bank is preparing for a softly-softly implementation of its exit strategy. Jean-Claude Trichet, president, has just dropped a pretty big hint that next month’s offer of unlimited one-year liquidity will be the last. What remains unclear is whether the ECB will also impose a spread on December’s operation. Trichet gave no clues, referring instead to the central bank’s December rendez-vous. In the meantime, he stepped up (again) his warnings about fiscal irresponsibility by governments, and inserted a line about premature tax cuts – but denied his words were directed at Germany in particular.