14 February 2012, 17:29  Italy raises the targeted

Italy raised the targeted amount at lower cost in an auction on Tuesday, just a day after Moody's Investor Service downgraded the country's rating. The Italian Treasury sold EUR 6 billion bonds or BTPs maturing in November 2014 & 2015 and February 2017. The auction attracted bids totaling EUR 9.479 billion. The country sold EUR 4 billion of its benchmark 6 percent November 2014 bond, matching the upper end of the target range. The yield on the benchmark 3-year bond dropped to 3.41 percent from 4.83 percent in an auction on January 13. Demand was 1.4 times the offer, better than 1.22 in the previous sale. The agency also sold EUR 685.674 million of 5-year off-the-run bonds, maturing in November 2015, at yield 3.77 percent. The bid-to-cover ratio was 2.37. The sale of the off-the-run 4 percent February 2017 bond raised EUR 1.314 billion at yield 4.26 percent. Investors bid 1.7 times the amount on offer. Adding to the single currency-bloc's woes, Moody's downgraded the ratings on six Eurozone countries on Monday, mainly citing the uncertainty over the euro area's prospects for institutional reform of its fiscal and economic framework. Italian debt rating was downgraded to A3 from A2. The rating agency also lowered the outlook on the triple-A ratings of UK, France and Austria to 'negative'. Investors have apparently shrugged of the rating downgrade news as Spain also saw its borrowing costs drop at an auction today. The Spanish Treasury raised a total EUR 5.45 billion from the sale of 12 and 18 month Treasury Bills, near the upper end of its target range. The 1-year debt yield dropped to 1.899 percent from 2.049 percent in an auction on January 17. Elsewhere, Greece's debt agency PDMA raised EUR 1.3 billion from the sale its T-Bills. The yield on the 13-week debt dropped to 4.61 percent from 4.64 percent at an auction on January 17. Greece's debt auction came just two days after the country's Parliament passed a highly unpopular package of austerity measures amid nationwide protests. This paved the way for its international creditors to release EUR 130 billion in aid to the troubled euro member.

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