Falling rates to save Italy 9 bln euros in interest

Padoan says lower borrowing costs good news for Italian budget

(ANSA) - Rome, April 10 - Falling interest rates mean savings of almost nine billion euros for the Italian budget this year, according to government estimates.
    Previous budget estimates made last September by former finance minister Fabrizio Saccomanni provided for 91.5 billion euros in interest rate payments in 2014.
    However, his replacement Pier Carlo Padoan now predicts interest payments will come in at about 82.55 billion euros, and he anticipates savings of 15 billion euros on 2015 interest payments.
    The latest estimates come the same day as the latest government bond auction, which saw the Treasury sell 7.5 billion euros' worth of one-year BOT State bonds at an average rate of 0.589% - a new all-time low. The previous low of 0.592% was set at an equivalent auction last month. The country's borrowing costs have been falling since Premier Matteo Renzi unseated his Democratic Party colleague Enrico Letta in February and took the helm of government promising to revive the economy and reform the country's slow and expensive political system.
    Italy risked a Greek-style financial meltdown late in 2011 when the spread between the interest rates Rome was forced to pay on its 10-year bond in comparison with the ultra-safe German equivalent went over 500 points with yields on Italian paper above 7%.


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