Italy has ‘one last roll of dice’ before it could QUIT euro, expert says | City & Business | Finance



Mr Conte, who was a little-known law professor before taking office this month at the head of an anti-establishment coalition, is meeting the German Chancellor today for top level talks, following talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris last Friday.

Mr Conte leads a government backed by the 5-Star Movement and the far-right League, but is not a member of parliament and is not a member of either party, though he is close to eurosceptic 5-Star.

His first weeks in government have been dominated by concern over the government’s spending plans and an international dispute over immigration, and Mrs Merkel and Mr Macron will be trying their best to convince the new Italian government to calm the anti-EU rhetoric on which both parties rode to power.

European leaders are particularly concerned over the economic uncertainty sparked by Italian threats to leave the euro and return to the lira.

When it comes to digging Italy out from the massive debt pile, Michael Browne, manager of the Legg Mason Martin Currie European Absolute Alpha fund, told “It’s time to experiment, to have one last chance, one last throw of the dice.

“Let’s have a fiscal boost of up to €100billion. Yes, it might mean that three of the four rating agencies cut Italy to junk but as long as one doesn’t the ECB can buy its debt.”

After the financial crisis of 2008 and the subsequent sovereign debt crisis of 2010, Italy was ordered to slash public spending to cut massing debts of 132 percent of GDP. Italy holds the world’s third-largest public debt, totalling €2.3 trillion (£2.02 trillion) at the end of March, and is vulnerable to a rise in refinancing costs.

However the drastic cuts that followed the restructuring of the debt pile were viewed as an EU policy that punished ordinary people for the failings of governments, policy makers, and major US and European banks.

Italians argued that the new generations were being forced to pay for the mistakes of their predecessors with the cuts implemented with the reform described by Italics Magazine as, “massive” and, “disproportionally hitting the lower classes.”

Citizens are angry at their government’s inability to pick themselves up after the 2008 Financial Crisis, and the imposition of harsh EU terms on the country’s snail-paced recovery.

Mr Browne warns that Italy is unlikely to accept the same controlling measures as those used in Greece.

He said: “The question some are asking is can the ECB or the EU keep Italy afloat whilst it organised a Greek style restructuring with the IMF, and the answer is, probably not.

“But when you are 1-0 in the 95th minute of a World Cup final and win a corner do you send up your goalkeeper? Of course you do.

“Losing 2-nil is Italy reverting to the Lira. Well that’s already on the table and it doesn’t change the outcome.”

“After all, it’s going to happen in the next recession anyway.”


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