August 9, 2019 / 10:52 AM / 10 days ago

Political turmoil sinks Italian banking shares

MILAN, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Italian banking shares fell heavily on Friday, hit by political uncertainty after the ruling League party filed a no-confidence motion to bring down the government.

The prospect of an early election in the autumn, when Italy should be readying its next budget after narrowly avoiding a European Union disciplinary procedure over its huge debt, drove up Italian bond yields on Friday.

Italian banks are large holders of the country’s bonds, and their capital reserves suffer when Italian bond prices drop.

Banks are also vulnerable to a deterioration of confidence which hurts their wealth management business and risks weighing on the country’s fragile economy.

By 1045 GMT Italy’s banking index fell by 4.8% with Banco BPM the top loser down 8.7%. Heavyweights Intesa SanPaolo and UniCredit lost, respectively, 4.4% and 5.8%. (Reporting by Valentina Za Editing by Mark Bendeich)

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