Intesa backs Italy's debt plan -executive
TRENTO, Italy, June 2 |
TRENTO, Italy, June 2 (Reuters) - Intesa Sanpaolo, a major holder of Italy's government bonds among local lenders, has confidence in the country's debt at a time of rising tensions on European government bond markets, a top executive at the bank said on Saturday.
Support from Italian banks is crucial for the Treasury's refinancing efforts given scant appetite for its debt among international investors.
But rising yields for Italian government bonds amid Greek and Spanish woes threaten the value of large portfolios of domestic debt held by the country's lenders.
"We believe in Italian debt," Management Board Chairman Andrea Beltratti said when asked if Intesa was worried about its high sovereign risk exposure in the face of a worsening euro zone debt crisis.
He declined to say whether his bank planned to change its exposure to Italian government bonds.
Intesa Sanpaolo held 76.9 billion euros ($95.07 billion) in domestic government bonds at the end of March, having increased its exposure from 59.7 billion euros at the end of last year.
"We hope Europe's problems can be overcome quickly," he told journalists on the margins of an economic conference.
Beltratti said he saw the risk of a breakdown of the single currency but was confident it could be avoided.
On Friday, top Italian banker Alessandro Profumo warned that if Greece decided to leave the euro after elections in mid-June the euro would fall apart unless measures were taken to prevent that.
Profumo, who is chairman of Italy's third-biggest lender Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, also said BMPS would over time reduce its exposure to Italian government bonds, probably too large at present given the size of the bank. ($1=0.8089 euros) (Reporting by Svetlana Kovalyova; Editing by Mike Nesbit)
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