Italy Sells 8.5 Billion Euros of Bills as Rates Plunge

Italy's Prime Minister Mario Monti
Prime Minister Mario Monti is implementing a 20 billion-euro package of spending cuts and tax increases to eliminate the budget deficit and tame the nation’s 1.9 trillion-euro debt. Photographer: Kamoshida Koichi/Bloomberg

March 28 (Bloomberg) -- Italy auctioned 8.5 billion euros ($11.34 billion) of Treasury bills at the lowest rate in more than a year as efforts to contain the region’s debt crisis fueled confidence among investors.

The Rome-based Treasury sold 8.5 billion euros of 182-day bills at 1.119 percent, the lowest since Sept. 2010, and down from 1.202 percent at the last auction of similar-maturity securities on Feb. 27. Investors bid for 1.51 times the amount offered, compared with 1.36 times last month.

Prime Minister Mario Monti is implementing a 20 billion-euro package of spending cuts and tax increases to eliminate the budget deficit and tame the nation’s 1.9 trillion-euro debt. His efforts to consolidate public finances and spur economic growth, coupled with the European Central Bank’s flood of three-year loans to banks, has pushed the yield on the country’s 10-year bond down more than 2 percentage points since his appointment in November.

The yield on Italy’s 10-year bond was down 3 basis points to 5.087 percent at 11.17 a.m. in Rome, pushing the difference with similar-maturity German debt to 321 basis points.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chiara Vasarri in Rome at cvasarri@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net