Monday 23 October 2017

Jeremy Warner: Is this Italian inferno just too big for eurozone to douse?

Jeremy Warner

THE eurozone debt crisis has again conformed to pattern this morning; just as one fire abates, temporarily at least – with news of the formation of a government of national unity in Greece – another lights up. Lamentably, this one – Italy – may be too big to douse.

The yield on ten year Italian debt rose to 6.59pc this morning, widening the spread on German bunds to an unprecedented 4.81pc. These are the sort of levels at which Greece, Ireland and Portugal began to find themselves shut out of markets.

Yet this time, there appears nothing there to offer support. The "enlarged" European Financial Stability Facility is not yet up and running. Few seem prepared to offer it the "leverage" required for the mooted €1 trillion of fire power. The European Central Bank under its new president, Mario Draghi, has said it's not its job to act as "lender of last resort" to governments. And the new funds that would allow the International Monetary Fund to step into the breach have not yet been agreed.

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