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Italy’s 10-Year Spread Widens to Highest Since Monti Took Power

Italy's Prime Minister Mario Monti
Italy's incoming prime minister Mario Monti, left, accepts a small bell from Italy's outgoing prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, at the Chigi palace in Rome. Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

The yield on Italy’s 10-year bond rose 24 basis points to 6.56 percent, pushing the difference with similar-maturity German bunds to the highest since Prime Minister Mario Monti took power on Nov. 16.

That risk premium widened to 532 basis points, exceeding the Jan. 9 closing high under Monti. It compares to a euro-era closing high on Nov. 9 of 552 basis points. It reached 572 basis points earlier in the day.

“I remember that date very well, because I was in Berlin and got a call from the head of state who preannounced an appointment,” Monti told reporters in Rome at a Dec. 29 year-end press conference. He was commenting on a Nov. 9 telephone call by President Giorgio Napolitano.

Napolitano thay day named Monti as a senator for life, an honorary position that allows him to vote in the upper house of the Rome-based Parliament. On Nov. 13, the president asked Monti to form a new government. He was sworn in as prime minister three days later to succeed Silvio Berlusconi.

Italy’s public debt rose in the first quarter to 123.3 percent of gross domestic product, up from 120.1 percent at the end of 2011, Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office, in Luxembourg said yesterday.

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