Italy 's borrowing costs rise


Italy's six-month borrowing costs rose to 2.957 per cent at auction today, their highest since December, piling pressure on the government as it pushes for concrete steps to ease market tensions at a European Union summit later this week.

A month ago Italy paid 2.1 per cent to sell six-month paper. Today's €9 billion bill sale comes ahead of a more challenging offer of five- and 10-year debt tomorrow, for up to €5.5 billion.

The bill sale was covered 1.6 times, in line with a month ago.

Spain yesterday paid 3.24 per cent to sell six-month bills. Italy saw its two-year borrowing costs rise to 4.71 per cent, a l so a six-month high, at a sale of zero-coupon paper yesterday.

Prime minister Mario Monti promised yesterday to press for joint action by EU countries to help ease pressure on Italian bonds, risking a showdown with Germany which has refused to share the burden of other countries' debt.