Rome, January 2 - The spread between Italian 10-year bonds and the German benchmark - the key gauge of market confidence in Italy's ability to pay down its huge debt - closed Wednesday at 283 basis points. That was just below a landmark policy goal of a 287-point spread set by outgoing premier Mario Monti - a figure exactly half the level of the spread (574) in November 2011, when Monti took over from Silvio Berlusconi. At that time, Italy was at the centre of the eurozone debt crisis, and confidence in the Italian economy was very low. At close of trading Wednesday, the yield on 10-year Italian paper fell to 4.27%, its lowest since at least December 2010. When economist and former European commissioner Monti took the helm from Berlusconi the yield was stuck at the long-term unsustainable mark of 7%.