Italy’s borrowing costs have climbed to euro-era highs just a day after European leaders agreed on a new plan to reverse the region’s spiralling debt crisis, aworrying sign they have failed to regain the confidence of key financial markets.
As striking Italian civil servants massed in central Rome to protest against possible forced redundancies, Italy wasforced to pay a record 6.06 per cent at an auction of its benchmark 10-year bonds, up from 5.86 per cent a month ago, despite intervention by the European Central Bank on the open market.
The movecomes as European officials have turned to China and Japan for possible funding of the eurozone’s bail-out fund. In Tokyo, Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, told the Financial Times he wouldlike to see “even greater efforts” in Europe to “ease crisis worries by creating a stronger and more detailed approach”.
The world’s third-largest economy remained concerned about possible contagion.“This fire is not on the other side of the river,” Mr Noda said. “Currently, the most important thing is to ensure it does not spread to Asia or the global economy.”
Markets increasingly see Italyas the decisive country for how the eurozone debt crisis plays out.
Economic reform plans presented by Silvio Berlusconi, prime minister, received a cautious welcome at the Brussels summit but havebeen criticised by investors as both inadequate and beyond the capacity of his weakened centre-right coalition government to put into action.
“Clearly this does not look like a strong vote ofconfidence in the package,” said Nicola Marinelli, fund manager for Glendevon King Asset Management, commenting on the bond auction. “I think that after the euphoria of Thursday the market is looking formore hard details from Europe.”
With Italy needing to roll over nearly €300bn of its €1,900bn debt mountain next year, Mr Berlusconi is under intense pressure from the EU and ECB to push ahead...