Italy renews pro-Russia push ahead of European Union summit

22 October, 2018, 00:23 | Author: Elaine Woods
  • Italy takes pro-Russia stance

For its part, the worldwide credit rating agency Moody's downgraded Italy's sovereign debt rating Friday to just one notch above junk. That has never happened before.

The latest political news centering on Italy's latest budget pushed the common currency Euro to a fresh 1-week trough on concerns over political tensions within the Eurozone. Italian bonds were closed at the time of the announcement.

The country's prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, said on Saturday that Rome wanted to establish a constructive dialogue with the EU over the budget because it recognised the role of European institutions.

"Given how damaging Brexit is to the European Union project, a loss of Italy would be devastating and to be avoided at all costs - hence I think (that) Italy's hand is quite strong". He insisted the increase in the structural deficit is less than the European Union calculates.

The spread between yields on Italian and German bonds climbed to its highest level in nearly five years on Friday.

Luigi Di Maio, the head of the 5-Star Movement, said Friday that he was sure a solution would be found, adding "we will hardly let the government fall over an amnesty for whoever launders or self-launders money".

"If one breaks these rules", Kurz said, "then this means that Italy is endangering itself, but of course also is endangering others beyond that".

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It listed these strengths as Italy's large and diversified economy, substantial current account surpluses of above 2 percent of GDP, a near balanced worldwide investment position and high wealth levels amongst Italian families.

The head of one of Italy's two ruling parties says the government won't fall over a dispute on the budget draft, which would offer a tax amnesty to Italians with accounts overseas.

Di Maio and his fellow deputy premier, Matteo Salvini of the anti-immigrant League, are unlikely to back down.

While Italy's deficit is well within the 3 percent limit laid out in treaties, the commission has demanded smaller gaps for Italy to bring down its debt load, the largest in Europe in absolute terms and second only to Greece's as a percentage of the economy.

For context, the budget proposes increasing both Italy's overall government debt and its deficit in the short run, pushing the deficit as high as 2.4% of GDP over the coming years.

"Italy's government debt standing at around 130% of GDP, our preliminary assessment also indicates that Italy's plans would not ensure compliance with the debt criterion benchmark ... which requires a steady reduction of the debt level towards the 60% threshold", the letter said". The government targets growth of 1.5 percent in 2019, followed by 1.6 percent and 1.4 percent in the following years.

Moody's said the planned measures should boost the country's output, but predicted that they would have less impact than the government was predicting.

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