Letta tells Wall St 'virtuous Italy's' debt under control
Premier says borrowing costs are main budget problem25 September, 15:44
"I'm here to present the new Italy, an important country for Europe and for the whole world," Letta said in a presentation given in fluent English with the help of slides at the New York Stock Exchange.
"It is a young, credible, virtuous country. Thanks to our fiscal consolidation, the debt is under control".
Italy's huge public debt of over two trillion euros, around 130% of GDP, is the reason it was dragged into the eurozone crisis and came close to a Greek-style financial meltdown in 2011. Letta, whose grand-coalition government is extremely fragile due to the fallout of the supreme court's decision to uphold a tax-fraud conviction against centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi, said the high cost of servicing the public debt was one of the main problems his government faces.
Italy's borrowing costs have come down from the levels they reached at the peak of the eurozone crisis but they are still high, in part due to investor concerns about the political situation. "The problem for budget consolidation is having low interest rates on the debt," he said.
"At the moment we are at 4.5% (on 10-year bonds), but we'd like to come down to 2% by the end of next year.
"That's why I'm insisting on the importance of political stability, which is crucial for us".