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Italian Banks’ ECB Borrowings Increase to Record High in April

Italian banks’ borrowings from the European Central Bank reached a record high in April, as the country’s lenders took up almost one-fourth of the funds offered to lenders amid revived concerns about Europe’s debt crisis.

Total borrowing by Italian banks rose to 271 billion euros ($353 billion) from 270 billion euros in March, the Bank of Italy said on its website today.

Most of the funding, about 268.4 billion euros, was from longer-term refinancing operations, while 2.6 billion euros came from the main refinancing operations, the data show. Lenders in the entire euro area borrowed about 1.13 trillion euros from the ECB, according to the central bank.

Italian banks are struggling to fund themselves as the debt crisis has pushed up the cost of borrowing and made it harder for banks to access the interbank market and reach wholesale investors. Lenders in the country took on more than 255 billion euros from the ECB in two auctions of three-year loans in December and February.

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