What, you may ask, has Italian government debt got to do with the French ‘no’ vote: everything would be my answer. (If you want to know more about this, thumb down my euro posts). The lack of a convincing advance towards political union makes Italian government debt riskier, so they have to pay more interest. This is, at present just a small breach, but it is one which is widening, and I fear this is the point at which the euro dyke will eventually breach:
“The euro hit a fresh 7-month low against the dollar and Italian government bonds came under strain on Monday after French voters gave a decisive thumbs-down to the proposed European Union constitution…………….The strains the French vote could have on the euro zone were reflected in government bonds. The spread on Italian BTP bonds over German debt touched 23 basis points, the highest level since November 2002, as so-called peripheral euro zone bonds suffered.”
The problem is that the markets have now ‘wised up’ to the problem, and will now be tracking Italian government debt as an issue in itself.