Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti told reporters Tuesday that Italy won't need a Greek-style bailout, but said the country may some day need to tap into the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), Europe's all-purpose bailout bucket, asking the fund to subsidize sovereign borrowing by buying Italian government bonds.
It wouldn't be prudent to say that Italy will never need to use that fund, Mr. Monti said at a news conference closing a two-day meeting of the European Union finance ministers, which had previously agreed on further aid measures for Spain and confirmed the ESM should be used to bail out national governments through bond buying where necessary.
Rising borrowing costs in Spain and Italy, in spite of weekly wee-hour meetings and pronouncements by the leaders of Europe, are heightening the sense that the current banking, financial and debt crises in the Continent are getting out of hand. Yields on 10-year benchmark Italian BTPs were 5.952 late Tuesday, down from levels around 6.3 percent earlier in the month, but still elevated. Yields above 7 percent are widely considered unsustainable.