Rome

Italian bond spread climbs back to 300 points

Concern about political situation blamed

Italian bond spread climbs back to 300 points

Rome, February 7 - The spread between 10-year Italian bonds and the German benchmark rose to the psychologically important 300-basis-points mark on Thursday with a yield of 4.45%. The spread is a key measure of Italy's borrowing costs and of investor confidence. Analysts have attributed sharp spread rises this week to concerns about what Italy's political situation will be after the February 24-25 general election. The spread started the week at just over 260 points. Some analysts have suggested the markets are spooked by the rise in the opinion polls of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right coalition, which is now around 5% behind Pier Luigi Bersani's centre-left alliance. At the weekend Berlusconi said he wanted to scrap the new property IMU tax introduced by the emergency technocrat government of outgoing Premier Mario Monti. Berlusconi also said taxpayers would be refunded the IMU they paid last year if the centre right wins the February 24-25 election. Berlusconi's opponents have accused him of making promises that are impossible to keep and of trying to 'buy' voters. The 76-year-old media magnate was forced to resign in November 2011, when Italy's debt crisis looked in danger of spiralling out of control and the spread was over 500 points.

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