Italian bonds and stocks fell when investors gave their verdict on the coronavirus crisis in Italy and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s new efforts to contain it.
The Italian benchmark FTSEMIB fell 11.2%, the most since June 2016. The yield on 10-year benchmark bonds increased by 25 basis points to 1.33 and the two-year yield increased by 45 basis points at 0.49%. World references, including the STOXX 600 in Europe, also plunged after the failure of talks between OPEC and Russia, which caused a sharp drop in oil prices.
Conte announced far-reaching measures to control the spread of the virus on Sunday, including travel restrictions for about a quarter of Italians concentrated in its most productive northern regions. On Monday, however, Italians could enter and exit controlled areas without more than a self-declaration that their trip is justified.
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Deaths from the virus have jumped more than 50 percent to 366, health officials said on Sunday and Italy has become the most severely affected country after China, with more than 7,000 confirmed cases. The Prime Minister himself has been tested himself and the result is negative, he told La Repubblica in an interview.
The epidemic tests the limits of the country’s health system and is a heavy blow to an economy that was already on the brink of recession and is straining the authority of Conte, a political recruit with an unstable coalition, while he is trying to impose his will on a region of 17 million inhabitants.
The new restrictions will limit activity in the productive regions of the north – home to the largest Italian banks and companies, including the supercarmaker Ferrari – to avoid a broader economic crisis.
The iconic Ferrari, which builds all of its cars at its Maranello factory near Modena, said Monday it has activated all necessary measures to allow their employees to continue working and to maintain the company’s operational continuity for the instant.
The finance ministry said on Monday that it was necessary to take a short-term economic hit now to avoid a wider economic crisis. The government decided on Thursday to double emergency spending to 7.5 billion euros ($ 8.5 billion) to help cushion the economic impact of the virus. The figure will further increase, La Repubblica reported on Monday, citing and interviewing Conte.
The new rules prohibit anyone from leaving or entering the most affected areas without “demonstrable” business or health reasons, and threaten to close bars unless it is guaranteed that clients are at least three feet the other.
However, trains were running and airports were open Monday in restricted areas. However, the national airline Alitalia SpA has declared that it will suspend all international and national flights to and from Milan Malpensa airport from Monday to April 3 and that it will only operate domestic flights to and from to Linate Airport in Rome.
Regional governors and local mayors said it was unacceptable that they only learned about Conte’s measures through media leaks, with the Prime Minister appearing to have trouble keeping control.
Conte officials initially promised a press conference for Sunday evening. They then announced that the Minister of Health would answer questions. It was ultimately the heads of civil protection who gave a briefing on the spread of the virus.
“We absolutely need one thing: Clarity, Clarity, Clarity,” wrote opposition leader Matteo Salvini in a Facebook article. Salvini listed a multitude of questions he needed Conte to answer: who can do what? where can we go? who can work who can travel?
Despite enforcement issues, several companies and institutions have adopted their own measures, which generally last until April 3, the duration of government restrictions. The archaeological site of Pompeii near Naples and the Vatican museums are closed, and an exhibition of the Renaissance master Raphael in Rome has been interrupted.
At the Vatican, where a case was diagnosed, Pope Francis celebrated his weekly general audience not from the window of the Apostolic Palace, but from the library via streaming to avoid the risk of crowds in St. Peter’s Square spreading the virus .
“This prayer from Angelus today is a bit strange, with the Pope caged in the library, but I can see you, I am close to you,” said Francis, before appearing briefly at the window to bless the faithful.
– With the help of Flavia Rotondi, Alessandro Speciale and Marco Bertacche.
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at [email protected], Ross Larsen
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