“Super Mario” brings some calm to the markets

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Markets have taken positively the appointment of Mario Monti as a Prime Minister of Italy yesterday night. Monti puts an end to the “era Berlusconi” and is expected to deliver the necessary reforms to save Italy from the deepening crisis.

The euro had already gained some ground last Friday after Lucas Papademos took over in Greece. Since Friday morning the risk-appetite of investors has swung in the direction it always does when a new solution to the southern Euroland debt crisis is wheeled out. The dollar and the yen went down while the commodity currencies went up. The only surprise was that sterling did as well as it did. Instead of following the dollar lower it tagged along with the euro. Although the UK producer price data were interesting it was not they who protected the pound. Investors did not know quite what to make of them. Input prices - manufacturers' costs - fell by -0.8% in October, hauling the annual rate of increase down from 17.7% to 14.1%. Output prices - factory gate prices - were unchanged on the month and the annual rise fell from 6.3% to 5.7%. All the numbers were lower than forecast.

Today we have seen a second sale of Italian debt. The auction has been a success for Italy as he has managed to find buyers for the full €3bn of debt. However, the bad news is that the investors are demanding more in return and so we saw the yield jumping to 6.29%, from 5.3% at a similar auction last month.

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