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Italian Mini BOTs ‘won’t be implemented’, says Tria

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By Burhan Khadbai
18 Jun 2019

Giovanni Tria, Italy’s minister of economy and finance, rebuffed the chances of a controversial ‘Mini BOT’ financial instrument coming into effect, as he gave a keynote address at the start of Euromoney's Global Borrowers and Bond Investors Forum in London on Tuesday.

When asked if Italy would begin issuing Mini BOT securities, Tria said: “It won’t be implemented. It’s not in the agenda of the Italian ministry or treasury. We don’t need these kinds of new instruments.”

Earlier this month, Italy’s parliament stunned the capital markets by passing through a radical motion to explore the issuance of Mini BOTs, which resemble a parallel currency to the euro.

The securities are named after Italian treasury notes and would allow the Italian government to print non-interest bearing tradable securities, with small denominations of up to €50, which could be used to purchase government services, although no one would be obliged to accept them.

Mini BOTs would also be capable of paying tax bills, making them useful for millions of Italians. Italy’s right-wing Northern League, which rules the country in coalition with the Five Star Movement, has been keen to stress that the Mini BOTs would not count as money, as that would fall foul of EU law.

At the keynote address, Tria also commented on the impending disciplinary action by the European Commission for Italy’s failure to abide by its budget deficit rules.

“I’m confident we can reach a good agreement and avoid the excessive deficit procedure,” said Tria. “We failed to reach the budget deficit target in 2018 because of the slowdown in growth in the second half of 2018.”

In a letter to Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, and Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, on Thursday, Italy’s prime minister Giuseppe Conte said the country would avoid an excessive deficit procedure and not demand any exceptions or concessions.

By Burhan Khadbai
18 Jun 2019