U.S. Treasury sees Italy better off in euro zone

Crisis Point       Italian 2-year yields have jumped from-0.3% to more than 2.5% in the space of just two weeks              Source Bloomberg

Crisis Point Italian 2-year yields have jumped from-0.3% to more than 2.5% in the space of just two weeks Source Bloomberg

Stocks in the USA and Europe sank Tuesday following political turmoil in Italy, which stoked fears of instability in the euro bloc.

The two anti-establishment parties, which tried and failed to form a government after inconclusive March elections, are promising to ramp up public spending, seek changes to European Union fiscal rules and roll back pension and labour reforms.

Recent political uncertainty has roiled Italian stocks, resulting in a slide of more than 9 percent for the Italian benchmark in May, its worst month since June 2016.

Bond yields dropped, and with them, interest rates on mortgages and other kinds of loans, hitting bank stocks on expectations lenders would earn thinner profits.

The turmoil hit US bank shares and caused a sell-off of euro assets and a rush into safe-haven Treasury debt, sending the dollar to a 10-month high against the euro.

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While they demanded a premium for taking on the risk, bond investors were found when the Italian government borrowed new 10-year debt on the market yesterday.

USA crude oil fell 1.7 percent to $66.73 a barrel in NY.

Looking at commodity-based currencies, against the Canadian dollar, the greenback Jumped by as much as 0.65 percent to trade at 1.2956 at the close, retracing most of the gains made by the loonie Wednesday on the back of a hawkish Bank of Canada statement.

Automakers report May U.S. sales the same day. Spot gold gained 0.18 percent at $1,300.01 per ounce by 1:36 p.m. EDT (1736 GMT), earlier hitting a five-day low of $1,293.40, while US gold futures for June delivery settled down $4.70, or 0.4 percent, at $1,299 per ounce.

The euro out-muscled the dollar on Thursday, jumping by 0.25 percent to trade at 1.16913, after having risen 1.1 percent on Wednesday, marking its second-biggest daily gain this year.

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The turmoil has also sent the yield spread between Italy and Germany's 10-year bonds to around a five-year high, reflecting investor concerns. At the beginning of May the yield was just 1.78 percent.

In Spain, a political vacuum looks set to be averted as Pedro Sanchez was nearly certain to become Spain's new Prime Minister after his socialist party secured enough votes to topple Mariano Rajoy in a confidence vote scheduled on Friday over a corruption case. Oil prices have slumped in the last week following reports that OPEC countries and Russian Federation could start pumping more oil soon.

Rising U.S. oil supplies have helped pushed the spread between Brent and U.S. crude CL-LCO1=R to almost $9 a barrel, its widest since March 2015 because of the depressed price of U.S. crude compared with Brent. Silver lost 1 percent to $16.37 an ounce. The United States seems on the brink of announcing tariffs on European steel and aluminium, which clouds the exports outlook and could have an additional inflationary impact if the trade conflict gets out of hand.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.6 percent while South Korea's Kospi lost 0.9 percent. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong slipped 1.5 percent to 30,034.07 and the Shanghai Composite index fell 1.6 percent to 3,072.76.

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