With the Italian 10-year bond trading almost 400bps wide of German rates, stocks down 1.5%, and new doubts about the EU's ability to respond to the spreading credit crisis, Silvio Berlusconi took to the floor of parliament to defend his country's credit and was criticized for not keeping it lively enough:
Commenting on the speech, a strong critic of Mr Berlusconi within the government, who asked not to be identified, acknowledged it was "boring" but said the prime minister was right to point to the lack of confidence in the eurozone as the root cause of Italy’s current problems on the markets.
Because of course Berlusconi said that Italy has "solid economic fundamentals," which should reassure everyone, and that the problem is market misinterpretation rather than budget or debt problems. But not everyone agrees that Italy's crisis is all in the minds of short sellers and CDS buyers:
"Either I am on Mars or he is on Mars," responded Pierluigi Bersani, leader of the opposition centre-left Democratic party, accusing Mr Berlusconi of failing to recognize the depth of Italy’s crisis. Pierferdinando Casini, head of the centrist UDC, said the government, beset by corruption scandals, had lost credibility.
Also: Crisis, what crisis? Berlusconi holds fresh bunga bunga party as Italian economy teeters on the brink [Daily Mail] ("According to today's Italian media reports 20 women were seen entering Berlusconi's villa at Arcore last Sunday in a fleet of cars with guests not leaving until 2am. The women are said to have 'used more caution' than normal when entering the villa so as not to attract attention ...")