Italy's political crisis is hitting global markets for a second day
- Global market turbulence extended to Asia overnight, with major Asian stock indexes losing substantial ground.
- Italy’s political crisis is to blame.
- In Europe, things have calmed significantly: bond yields are falling a little in early trade, the euro is rising, and stocks are broadly flat.
LONDON — Global markets remain tumultuous on Wednesday as Italy’s political crisis continues to push investors toward safe-haven assets and away from riskier investments.
Italy’s political situation deteriorated rapidly over the weekend, with the prospect of a fresh general election in the next few months now looming large. Many commentators fear a vote could effectively become a referendum on Italy’s membership of the euro.
Given Italy’s status as one of the key pillars of the single currency area, investors are worried about the possible collapse of the entire project and the knock-on impact it would have on the global economy. This has driven a sell-off in stock markets across the world, as well as of Italian bonds.
Major Asian stock indexes suffered overnight, with several losing close to 2% in Wednesday trading.
Things are looking slightly calmer in Europe on Wednesday morning. European stocks are broadly flat after 45 minutes of trade, with only France’s CAC 40 in negative territory. Italy’s FTSE MIB is in fact up 0.75% from yesterday’s close.
Bond markets have also calmed, with yields on both Italy’s 10 and two-year government bonds — known as BTPs — falling in early morning trade. The 10-year is trading at 3.093%, a fall of around 0.3% from Tuesday. Bond yields move inversely to prices, so yields increase during sell-offs and fall during good times.
Italy is scheduled to hold a bond auction later on Wednesday morning, with Italy looking to raise between €3.75 billion and €6 billion ($4.3 billion and $7 billion) from investors. Results of the auction will be available at around 11.20 a.m. CET (5.20 a.m. ET).
The euro has also recovered somewhat on Wednesday, with the single currency — which lost around 0.5% on Tuesday — gaining by a similar amount against the dollar during the morning hours in Europe.
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