Rome

Italian spread closes down 20 points to 259

Draghi helps key confidence gauge fall to July 2011 levels

Italian spread closes down 20 points to 259

Rome, January 10 - The spread between Italian bonds and German Bunds fell 20 basis points to 259 by Thursday's close, its lowest since July 2011, on reassurances from European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi that the ECB would continue to help ailing European lenders. The yield fell to a similar low of 4.15%. The spread, and the yield, are key measures of Italy's borrowing costs and of investor confidence in the country's ability to weather the eurozone crisis. Interest rates at an auction of Italian 10-year bonds fell to 0.86% as Draghi stated the ECB has no intention of abandoning the extraordinary bailout measures it has undertaken so far. July 2011 is viewed as the beginning of the 'perfect storm' that battered Italian paper and culminated on November 9, when the spread peaked at 574 points and Italian bonds sold at 7.47% interest rates. Former premier Silvio Berlusconi turned the country over to Mario Monti shortly after. Also on Thursday, the Milan bourse closed 0.72% up at 17,451 points and the Frankfurt DAX exchange closed down 0.16% at 7,708.47. In Madrid, the Ibex-35 exchange rose 0.15% to 8,618.90, while London's FTSE-100 was stable at +0.05%, closing at 6,101.51 points. The Paris CAC-40 index fell 0.39% to 3,703.12 points.

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