Italian Treasury says no danger to national accounts from derivatives contracts

The Italian Treasury has denied that derivatives dating from the 1990s posed any risk to the stability of public finances following reports that Rome faced €8bn in losses from one set of contracts.

The Treasury statement came after the Financial Times and the La Repubblica daily reported that Italy faced potential losses of billions of euros on derivatives contracts that were restructured at the height of the euro zone crisis.

The Treasury said derivatives were used as a standard means of hedging against foreign exchange and interest rate risks and that there was always a cost of such insurance, which was justified by the protection provided against more serious potential losses.

It said suggestions that Italy had used derivatives contracts to enable it to meet the criteria to join the euro in 1999 were “absolutely baseless”.

The Treasury’s statement followed ECB president Mario Draghi’s announcement that the Italian authority was going to report on the FT revelations.

“The Italian Treasury should come out or has come out already with a full statement clarifying all these aspects,” he said.

 

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