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Berlusconi listens during a debate at the Senate on December 13, 2010 in Rome, Italy.Italy’s prime minister Mario Monti is resigningAfter Mr Monti took seat last year, he pulled Italy back from a financial meltdownOn Saturday, Silvio Berlusconi announced that he will run as prime minister againMr Berlusconi was convicted for tax fraud in October(Financial Times) — Normal service is resuming. After a year of relative stability and regained market confidence, Italy is plunging back into political turmoil with the familiar sight of Silvio Berlusconi gearing up for yet another electoral campaign — his sixth in 19 years — against [...]

MILAN Fiat’s Mirafiori and Melfi plants will be among the first to be re-tooled for new models in the Italian carmaker’s plan to fix its struggling European business, and work may begin within weeks, a union source said. A sharp downturn in Europe has forced Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne to focus on bolstering the company’s European activities instead of buying more shares in U.S. automaker Chrysler Group LLC, which it also controls. Shares in Fiat closed 4.3 percent lower on Wednesday as investors doubted that a plan by the carmaker to fix its money-losing European operations by increasing investment in [...]

Bank chief: Italy’s economy risks a “vicious circle” of weak growth and lack of confidenceWarning comes as unemployment rose to its highest level for 13 years (Financial Times) — Italy’s economy risks a “vicious circle” of weak growth and lack of confidence, the governor of the Bank of Italy has warned as unemployment rose to its highest level for 13 years while its recession deepened.More than 35 per cent of young Italians are out of work as factory closures, bankruptcies and public sector cuts fuel a nationwide backlash against the austerity policies of Mario Monti’s technocrat government ahead of general [...]

ROME The Italian government’s recent cut to the lowest income tax rates and one point rise in value added tax was a move in the right direction, a senior official from the International Monetary Fund said on Friday. “In quantitative terms, it’s not a very big step but it may have some effect,” Carlo Cottarelli, the head of the IMF’s fiscal affairs division told Italian radio. “By taxing income from labor less, you basically tend to encourage employment,” he said. On Wednesday, the government of Prime Minister Mario Monti lowered the income tax rate on the bottom two brackets by [...]

ROME Italy plans to reduce tax breaks for companies and cut spending on health care, a minister was quoted as saying, thereby avoiding a politically damaging increase in sales tax next year. The government is also moving to wrest back control of spending in key areas from the country’s bloated regional administrations, sources said, widely seen as responsible for much of the waste and inefficiency that is plaguing the recession-hit economy. Prime Minister Mario Monti and Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli outlined measures the cabinet will take at a meeting later on Tuesday when it is due to approve its annual [...]

MILAN A deeper-than-expected recession will force Italy to sell more bonds and bills this year than planned, a senior Treasury official said, presenting an even steeper funding challenge for the world’s fourth-biggest debtor. In an interview with Reuters on Tuesday, Treasury Debt Management Office head Maria Cannata said Italy has upped its gross funding target for 2012 to 460-465 billion euros from a previous forecast of 440-450 billion euros. The decision comes after the Italian government slashed its growth forecasts for this year and next in September and hiked its deficit and debt estimates. “We will issue roughly 20 billion [...]

VALLETTA France and Italy led a call by five euro zone member states for the European Union to press ahead toward setting up a single banking regulator by the end of the year to be running in 2013. The leaders of France, Malta, Spain, Italy, and Portugal met in Malta on Friday at a summit with North African countries as part of the 5+5 group of Mediterranean countries. The leaders in a joint statement said the next European Council on October 18-19 “must pave the way towards the establishment of a single European banking supervision system, to be decided before [...]

ROME Italy’s service sector shrank for the 16th month in a row in September, albeit at the slowest pace since January, with a drop in new business and one of the sharpest falls in employment since 2009, data showed on Wednesday. The Markit/ADACI Business Activity Index, covering service companies from hotels to banks, rose to 44.5 from 44.0 a month earlier, but remained well below the 50 line separating growth from contraction. The data underlines the gloomy economic picture facing Prime Minister Mario Monti’s government, which last month cut its growth forecast, saying it expected a 2.4 percent contraction in [...]

FRANKFURT Spanish and Italian government bonds extended a rally Wednesday after Germany’s top court refused to block Berlin’s participation in the European Stability Mechanism, the euro zone’s permanent rescue fund. The yield on two-year Spanish debt fell 7 basis points to 2.76%, while the 10-year yield fell 6 basis points to 5.60%, according to electronic trading platform Tradeweb. Italy’s two-year yield dropped 11 basis poitns to 2.38%, while the 10-year yield declined 6 basis points to 5.02%. A basis point is 1/100th of a percentage point. Yields drop as bond prices rise.

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