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Italian Banks’ ECB Borrowings Hit New Record High in May

Italian banks’ borrowings from the European Central Bank rose to a third straight monthly record in May as concerns about the debt crisis limit access to funds and raise costs.

Total borrowing by Italian banks rose to 272.7 billion euros ($342 billion) from 271 billion euros in April, the Bank of Italy said on its website today.

Most of the funding, about 269 billion euros, was from longer-term refinancing operations, while 4 billion euros came from the main refinancing operations, the data showed. Lenders in the entire euro area borrowed about 1.12 trillion euros from the ECB, according to the central bank.

Italian banks are struggling to fund themselves as the debt crisis has pushed up borrowing costs 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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