Italy's 5-Star, League on Verge of Government Deal; Markets Shudder

17 May, 2018, 04:10 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Dollar stands tall as euro plumbs five-month low on Italian political uncertainty

"It would be insane to give up at the moment of truth", League leader Matteo Salvini said in a live video stream on Facebook, adding that he would not be intimidated by negative reaction from financial markets or attacks from the media.

"We have asked the President of the Republic for more time to finish the government contract".

Only five percent of Italian government bonds are held by non-EU residents, making the chances of a massive flight of capital unlikely, ADM Investor Services market strategist Marc Ostwald said.

"We need to be able to speak with a single voice, to say to the European Union, to which we pay many billions of euros every year, that for us Italians come first", the League's economics chief Claudio Borghi said, echoing US President Donald Trump's rallying cry "America First".

He echoed remarks from League leader Matteo Salvini that European Union budget rules need to be changed to allow Italy to spend more, though Di Maio added that this should be done in agreement with Italy's European partners. It has hesitated about signing up to a full-frontal confrontation with Europe over public accounts.

This will now be something to watch as populism is back on the agenda for markets where the coalition has radical ideas to free up billions of euros for tax cuts and welfare.

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Earlier, the leaders of the anti-immigrant League party and the anti-establishment Five Star movement agreed to meet the Italian President to share details of a government programme for the eurozone's third largest economy, thrashed out over the weekend.

They have both vowed to scrap an unpopular pension reform - a move that would punch a 15-billion-euro (RM70 million) hole in state coffers.

Mr Di Maio also targeted the UK's Financial Times for a story headlined "Rome opens its gates to the modern barbarians".

Emerging market currencies suffered more losses on Wednesday with the dollar's rise, although the Turkish lira pulled back from record lows after the central bank said it would intervene to stop its slide. This would lower Italy's public debt, now at 130% of national output.

Last week Wolfango Piccoli, co-president of Teneo Intelligence, said taking on Brussels would be popular with Italian voters, and the new government had little to fear from the European Commission.

The League has promised a tougher line on migrants arriving from Africa and denounced Avramopoulos's comments. Neither Salvini nor Di Maio want the other to get the job, but they have yet to find a mutually acceptable alternative figure. However, three 5-Star sources said the main stumbling point remained who should head the administration. If they fail to do so, fresh elections look inevitable.

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