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Investors on high alert for signs of weakness at Italian banks

Investors worry that volatility in Italian government bond prices may leave some Italian banks needing to raise capital just as the markets close to them.


Italy enjoyed per capita GDP of $37,481 at the end of 2007, according to CEIC Data.

Fast-forward through the global financial crisis, the eurozone crisis and 10 years of austerity, and at the start of this year it had recovered to just $32,126, still 14% below the level a decade ago.

Italy GDP per capita December 2006 to end-2017


Problems in Italy are not new.

A note this week from World Economics points out that while many politicians in northern Europe persist in labelling the Italian state as spendthrift, this is not the case.

Since it entered the eurozone, Italy has been remarkably frugal. Its high indebtedness stems from pre-eurozone days. Unlike almost all other eurozone countries, except Germany, Italy has achieved a primary budget surplus for most of its eurozone years, and in recent years a current-account surplus.

High historic debt and failed austerity efforts to reduce it have left Italy with a shrunken economy less able to service its obligations.

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