All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC group

Scheduling populism


In an age where the triumph of populism has shown that communication trumps all else in politics, it’s strange that the Italian iteration of this trend is struggling with something that couldn’t be clearer — its sovereign debt auction schedule.

Before each year starts, the debt raising team at the Italian Treasury diligently publishes a calendar clearly marking on which days it will auction debt. While the exact tenors and amounts are decided closer to the sale, any concerned citizen can see in very good time when Italy will be auctioning bills, bonds, inflation linkers or floaters.

It’s a bit odd then that for a government that has made such big talk about being concerned for its citizens, the Five Star/League coalition has clearly not had a look at the schedule.

How else can one explain that the executive thought it a good idea late last week to appoint two Eurosceptic figures to head important economic committees in the Italian parliament — predictably compelling investors to shovel a few more basis points on Italy’s borrowing costs — just a few trading days before the Treasury held a series of auctions?

The coalition’s tax less/spend more proposal already looks dubious to economists — the extra cash spent on borrowing at these auctions compared to had the appointments been held back will hardly help to balance that equation.

One could argue that Italy is always holding auctions — and to be fair, it has a lot — but surely the Eurosceptic appointments, pronouncements and shout-outs could wait till after the bonds sell. Conversely, the Europhile stuff — and there has been some — should come just before the sales.

We’re being slightly facetious, but it seems the government’s habit of accusing the markets of “blackmail” are just a little bit over the top.

One can’t be blackmailed over information that’s already publicly available — and if there’s any members of the Italian government reading this, you can find the 2018 auction schedule here.

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree