Italian bonds edged dangerously closer to the 7% threshold at which investors have determined Italy will have severe difficulties refinancing its debt or even paying it back in a timely fashion. The spread of panic from Greece to Italy seems to be controlled thus far but if Italian bond yields reach the 7% mark the eurozone has some swift decisions to make with regard to preserving Italian viability. The European Central Bank‘s program of buying sovereign debt is credited with keeping the rates where they are now. The Italian economy is the the third largest in Europe, behind those of Germany and France, and Italy also has one of the eurozone’s largest bond markets meaning the risks posed by the Italian government represents a generous magnitude of increase over the Greek crisis and its threats to the eurozone. Unpopular Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been called upon to relinquish his post, a call which he has so far refused and instead he defiantly promises to stay in power. It is unlikely that the European Central Bank will continue to purchase Italian debt without a change in leadership at the top to restore confidence in the Italian management of the economic crisis.

 

[CNN]