Italy In Distress: Italian Debt Crisis Now Center Of Gravity In The Eurozone
The Eurozone’s latest Greek debt bailout plan, following previous Greek, as well as Portuguese and Irish bailouts, was supposed to ring-fence the largest PIIGS nations; Spain and Italy. The Spanish economy is highly vulnerable to a raging economic recession and massive unemployment. However, it is Italy, with a two trillion euro public debt and stagnant economic growth, that is now the greatest danger to the Eurozone. The supposed ring-fencing of Italy that was the prime motivation for the Greek debt write-off and bailout is clearly a failure. Only days after the latest Eurozone debt crisis plan, spreads on Italian government bonds are soaring.
The latest yield on ten year bonds issued by Italy is now in excess of 6.6 percent. Should these yields pass seven percent, it becomes mathematically impossible for Rome to finance its deficits and debt repayments. That would mean that the Italian government would require being bailed out. The problem, however, is that there is not enough resources available in the Eurozone to bail out Italy. The only hope left, and it is a feeble one at best, is that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will resign, and thereby restore some level of market confidence. However, the problems with Italy’s finances go beyond one single bumbling politician. The issues are structural, not personality-based, and so far no real viable solutions have emerged.
A full-fledged Italian sovereign debt crisis will probably be the kiss of death to the Eurozone, at least in its present form.