Rome

Interest falls to 2-yr low at Italian six-month bond auction

Borrowing costs falling

Interest falls to 2-yr low at Italian six-month bond auction

Rome, November 28 - Interest rates on six-month Italian bonds dropped to their lowest level for more than two years at a successful auction on Wednesday. The Treasury sold 7.5 billion euros worth of BOT bonds, the maximum amount it had set for the auction, at an average rate of 0.919%, the lowest rate since April 2010. This was down from the average of 1.347% at the last auction on October 29. The auction helped take the yield on 10-year Italian BTP bonds down to 4.65%, its lowest level in over a year. In turn this caused the yield spread between the BTP and the benchmark German bund, a key indicator of Italy's borrowing costs and of market confidence in the country's ability to weather the eurozone crisis, down to 326 after it had climbed to 331 earlier in the day. Austerity measures and structural economic reforms carried out by Premier Mario Monti's emergency government have helped restore investor faith in Italy after the country's borrowing costs looked in danger of becoming unsustainably high last year, when the crisis forced Silvio Berlusconi to quit as premier. Italy's borrowing costs have come down significantly since July when European Central Bank President Mario Draghi pledged to do whatever was necessary to support the euro. He followed those words with action in September, when the ECB established a bond-buying program for stressed countries. On Thursday, Italy returns to the financial markets, offering as much as six billion euros worth of five- and 10-year bonds.

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