Daily Digest

Daily Digest 11/16 - Youth Unemployment Grows, Why Fannie, Freddie Execs Get Paid So Much, Food Pantries See Increased Need

Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 10:42 AM
  • Youth unemployment set to breach one million
  • Greek economy in dire shape ahead of govt confidence vote
  • Spanish debt risk premium smashes records
  • U.S. Pension Agency Deficit Widens to Record $26 Billion in 2011
  • U.S. Postal Service Said to Weigh Hiring Restructuring Advisers
  • Italy Investors Give Junk Rating to Monti's Debt: Euro Credit
  • Chile Pension Fund Managers Cut Investments Abroad 22.8% In 3Q
  • Italian Yields Reach 7%, French Debt Slides as Bond Rout Deepens
  • Spain Sells Less Than Maximum Target as Yields Surge at Auction
  • Why Fannie, Freddie execs get paid a lot
  • Muni scraps 25-cent transfer fee idea
  • Number of Texans Receiving Food Stamps Up Sharply Amid Recession
  • Central Illinois food pantries see increased need
  • Salvation Army empty food shelves
  • War veterans homeless in America
  • Homeless Spokane Students On The Rise
  • 9% CSU tuition hike looms if state doesn't step in
  • Red-light cam vendor sues over Tennessee restrictions
  • Vacant Las Vegas homes being used as indoor pot farms
  • Bing to address Detroit's fiscal problems in address Wednesday
  • Bank of England to downgrade UK growth forecasts
  • Red-light fines to fund intersection repairs
  • Fed officials divided on need, trigger for action
  • Occupy Oakland: Losses to the city top $2 million

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Youth unemployment set to breach one million (UK)

Official statistics to be released tomorrow are likely to show that unemployment among 16-24 year-olds has risen to more than one million for the first time since records began in 1992.

Overall, unemployment increased to 8.1 per cent in the three months to the end of August to the highest rate seen since 1996 and the total number of unemployed people rose to 2.56 million, the highest total for 17 years. It is expected to rise still further when tomorrow's figures are announced.

Greek economy in dire shape ahead of govt confidence vote

Greece's economy shrank 5.2 percent in the third quarter, official data showed Tuesday, highlighting the depths of the crisis as parliament debated approval of a new government under Lucas Papademos.

Athens is racing against time to adopt deeply unpopular reforms demanded by its European Union and International Monetary Fund creditors before the release of bailout loans needed to avert bankruptcy in mid-December.

Spanish debt risk premium smashes records

The risk premium - the extra return investors demand to buy Spanish 10-year government bonds over comparable safe-haven German debt - broke records for a second day, reaching 4.575 percentage points.

The benchmark Spanish 10-year bond yield, which topped 6.0 per cent the previous day for the first time since August, rose further to 6.341 per cent - hitting levels widely held to be unsustainable for the long-term and getting uncomfortably close to the red-zone 7.0 per cent.

U.S. Pension Agency Deficit Widens to Record $26 Billion in 2011

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., a U.S. insurance program for company retirement plans, said its deficit widened to a record $26 billion in the 2011 fiscal year and it took over 152 funds that were closed.

The largest year-end deficit in the agency’s 37 years reflect lower interest rates that generate less cash used to make payments and anticipated increases in assistance to multiemployer plans, according to an annual report today. The agency had a $23 billion deficit in 2010.

U.S. Postal Service Said to Weigh Hiring Restructuring Advisers

The U.S. Postal Service, which may have lost $10 billion in the past fiscal year, is discussing restructuring options with potential advisers, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The Postal Service, which is structured to run as a self- supporting government enterprise, can't make a $5.5 billion payment to the U.S. Treasury for future retirees' health benefits and has said it may not have enough cash to deliver mail beyond next August. The organization, which wants to cut 220,000 jobs by 2015, said in July it was considering a plan to close as many as 3,700 post offices, or 12 percent of its locations.

Italy Investors Give Junk Rating to Monti's Debt: Euro Credit

Mario Monti's Italian government will have to stave off a ratings downgrade as it refinances $420 billion of bonds and bills coming due next year, as investors price the debt as junk.

The ranking implied by Italy's bonds is Ba2, two steps below investment grade and six levels lower than the country's A2 grade, according to Moody's Analytics. The only nation with investment-grade ratings whose bonds cost more to insure using credit-default swaps is Hungary, ranked four steps lower, which Standard & Poor's said last week it may cut to junk.

Chile Pension Fund Managers Cut Investments Abroad 22.8% In 3Q

AFPs, Chile's largest institutional investors, decreased their exposure in overseas equities and fixed-income markets as concerns about Europe's sovereign debt crisis battered global markets.

"Uncertainty created by Greece's rescue plan and by the risk of insolvency in countries like Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy had a negative impact on equities markets, especially considering the risk of contagion in the rest of the euro zone and its negative impact on global economic activity," SAFP said.

Italian Yields Reach 7%, French Debt Slides as Bond Rout Deepens

The spread investors demand to hold 10-year French debt instead of German bunds widened 26 basis points, the most since the euro started in 1999, based on closing-market rates, to 190 basis points. It touched 191 basis points, also the most since the common currency was introduced. The yield on the 10-year bund fell one basis point to 1.77 percent, less than half France’s 3.67 percent rate.

Spain Sells Less Than Maximum Target as Yields Surge at Auction

Spain sold 3.16 billion euros ($4.3 billion) of bills, below its maximum target, and its financing costs surged as the country's benchmark bond yields approached a euro-era record. The Madrid-based Treasury said it sold 12-month debt at an average yield of 5.022 percent, compared with 3.608 percent at an auction on Oct. 18. It sold 18-month paper at 5.159 percent, up from 3.801 percent last month. The yield paid today to borrow for a year is more than Spain's 10-year bond yielded on Oct. 10.

Why Fannie, Freddie execs get paid a lot

Executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac need big pay packages to protect taxpayers from losing more of the billions spent to rescue the mortgage finance companies, according to the head of the agency that sets pay at the beleaguered firms........The net cost of the taxpayer bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is about $124 billion -- dwarfing bailouts to any other financial firm.

Muni scraps 25-cent transfer fee idea (San Francisco)

The agency's commissioners said on Monday that all revenue options must be explored to help close a projected $34 million deficit. But they took the 25-cent transfer fee off the table, saying that would go against the way Muni is setup.

The agency will, however, explore extending parking meter operations, raising parking citations and charging Muni riders that pay with cash 25 cents more than those using Clipper cards.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that another idea is to make drivers who use disabled placards pay for metered parking.

Number of Texans Receiving Food Stamps Up Sharply Amid Recession

The number of Texans receiving federal food assistance — commonly known as food stamps — has increased by nearly 1.4 million in the last four years. Nearly 15 percent of Texans now receive food stamps, and many more than that are eligible.

More than 3.7 million Texans — more than half of whom are children — receive food benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a federally funded program administered by the state Health and Human Services Commission.

Central Illinois food pantries see increased need

As cold weather and the holidays quickly approach, area food pantries have seen a 45 percent increase in use over the last few months, according to Barb Shreves, the director of the Peoria Area Food Bank.

Keeping up with that kind of demand is difficult, to say the least. The South Side Mission gives out 1,000 bags of groceries each month to those in need, said spokeswoman Meg Newell, adding that 20 percent of families who receive assistance are doing so for the first time. "We're seeing people that would never come to the food pantry, who would never request a meal for Thanksgiving," said Newell.

Salvation Army empty food shelves (Colorado...video)

The holidays can be a straining time on a family's budget, in fact a new report out from Hunger Free Colorado says twenty five percent of Colorado families don't have enough food to meet their basic needs.

But the holidays are right around the corner, and more items in food pantries are becoming more sparse on the shelves.....Food pantries are seeing new individuals who have never had to ask for help in the past because of high prices, issues with their jobs and the economy in general.

War veterans homeless in America (Video)

An estimated 200,000 American war veterans are homeless, and unemployment among recently returned veterans is 3 per cent higher than the national average.

Homeless Spokane Students On The Rise

Webb is one of 278 students considered homeless in the Central Valley School District right now. The district saw a 45 percent increase in the number of homeless students when compared to this time in 2010.

The other school districts around the county are also struggling with a growing homeless student body. These numbers were collected Monday from each district: Spokane Public Schools – 55% increas

9% CSU tuition hike looms if state doesn't step in (Video)

Students and faculty are on pins and needles - waiting for word on whether tuition will go up, again. This year - state funding to CSU campuses was slashed by $650 million - meaning tuition increased. Now another $100 million could be cut if state revenues don't improve.

Red-light cam vendor sues over Tennessee restrictions

A state law that took effect July 1 bars cities with the cameras from issuing right-turn-on-red citations if the only evidence comes from traffic camera video. Sponsors of the measure, which also sets new restrictions on how local governments set up and use speeding cameras, said a camera couldn't distinguish between truly illegal turns and drivers who nose into the intersection to see if it is safe to turn.

This lawsuit from ATS seeks to overturn the new law or to exempt about 20 cities that had contracts with traffic camera companies when the law took effect. Under the contract with Knoxville, ATS is paid $40 out of every $50 fine for right-turn-on-red violations, up to $4,500 per camera per month. For any revenue over $4,500, the company's share is 50 percent.

Vacant Las Vegas homes being used as indoor pot farms

Las Vegas has a pot home problem. And like many of the region's maladies, it's tied to the housing slump.

Last year, authorities took down 153 indoor grow sites in Nevada and seized more than 13,000 plants, compared with 18 sites and 1,000 plants in 2005, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said.

"You can't have crime without opportunity," said William Sousa, a criminologist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, "and all those empty homes present an opportunity for criminal activity."

Bing to address Detroit's fiscal problems in address Wednesday

Mayor Dave Bing is scheduled to discuss the city's escalating fiscal crisis in an evening speech on Wednesday as pressure mounts on his administration to address a recent report that the city could go broke by spring.

Bank of England to downgrade UK growth forecasts

The Bank is expected to cut its 2011 and 2012 growth forecast to about 1pc from its August forecast of about 2pc when it publishes its latest quarterly Inflation Report on Wednesday.

Sir Mervyn King, the Bank’s Governor, is likely to emphasise there are serious downside risks to the UK growth outlook because of the threat posed by the eurozone’s continued problems.

Red-light fines to fund intersection repairs (Philadelphia)

The Lancaster intersection will be one of the first local beneficiaries of the poor driving habits of some Philadelphia motorists. It will be rebuilt using $172,477 gleaned from the pockets of red-light runners caught on camera.

The city of Philadelphia is the only jurisdiction in the state with cameras that can automatically capture images of cars going through red lights. Red light runners are tracked by their license plates and notices of fines arrive by mail. Under state law, Philadelphia splits the revenue from those fines evenly with the state.

Fed officials divided on need, trigger for action

Two top Federal Reserve officials on Tuesday made a strong case for further action by the U.S. central bank to spur faster economic growth, but a third, more centrist policymaker disagreed.

The differences illustrate the difficulties Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke faces in forging a consensus behind his view that the Fed should do all it can to heal the country's sickly job market.

Occupy Oakland: Losses to the city top $2 million

Monday morning's police raid cost the city $500,000 in outside police help. Occupy Oakland's total cost to taxpayers to date is more than $2.4 million, according to a city estimate released late in the day.

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."


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Italy bond yield rises back above 7% despite ECB


Italy's 10-year government bond yield bounced back above the 7% level Wednesday. The yield fell earlier, with several strategists reporting heavy buying of Italian debt by the European Central Bank. The 10-year yield rose 12 basis points to 7.04%, according to FactSet Research. Bond yields rise as prices fall. The 7% level is widely viewed as marking an unsustainable level. On Tuesday, a Europe-wide rout sent yields jumping even for triple-A rated countries such as France, Finland and the Netherlands. Other European government bond yields also pushed higher after initially declining Wednesday. France's 10-year yield rose by around 4 basis points to 3.70%, while the 10-year Belgian bond yield  rose 5 basis points to 4.90% and the Dutch 10-year yield rose 4 basis points to 2.44%. Spain's 10-year bond yield remained around 3 basis points lower at 6.27%.

Other headlines: 

  1. U.K. unemployment hits 8.3%, highest since 1996
  2. BOJ Cuts Economic View as Europe Crisis Becomes Growing Risk
  3. FHA could need taxpayer bailout next year, report says
  4. State could face $1B budget gap, House committees learn (Virginia)
  5. Greek government set to win confidence vote, cracks emerge
  6. Portugal’s Unemployment Rate Rises to 12.4% as Economy Shrinks
  7. Doherty's 2012 Scranton budget raises real estate taxes 29 percent, lays off 29 firefighters
  8. Beach, schools face $90 million budget deficit (Virginia)
  9. Deficit rises as Miami-Dade County, unions slowly negotiate contracts ($253 million)
  10. France, Germany clash over ECB role to stem crisis
  11. Jacksonville Fire, Police Pensions Score Failing Grades
  12. County Pension Costs Nearly Triple Over Last Decade (San Diego)
  13. JPMorgan Joins Goldman Keeping Italy Debt Risk in Dark
  14. Euro Weakens as Italy’s Biggest Bank Prepares to Seek Broader ECB Rules
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Fracking / earthquake connection - NY

Hydrofracking sparks earthquake concerns

ROCHESTER -- In early 2001, people living in northern Steuben County experienced something that many of them had never felt before -- a series of earthquakes, the largest of which was more powerful than any naturally occurring tremor in New York in a decade.

Damage was minimal but nerves were jangled. Because the epicenters were in an area not known to be quake-prone, officials looked for an explanation. They found one that might seem improbable.

The earthquakes were man-made, New York officials suspected -- the result of test injections of millions of gallons of water into two-mile-deep disposal wells built as part of a natural-gas storage operation being developed in the Town of Avoca.

The incident, which largely went unnoticed outside of Avoca and neighboring Cohocton, has been given fresh currency today because of the growing controversy in New York and nationwide over the natural gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing.

The surge in hydrofracking has meant a surge in injection wells to dispose of drilling wastewater -- and those disposal wells are increasingly being linked to small earthquakes. Clusters of "induced" quakes in the Dallas-Forth Worth area and in Arkansas are prominent recent cases.

"There's a long list of examples," said Robert Ross, a geologist and associate director for the Paleontological Research Institution in Ithaca. "There's no question that small earthquakes can be induced."

And now there is a smattering of evidence that small earthquakes can be caused by hydrofracking, in which water is injected underground to free up natural gas for extraction. A drilling company in England took responsibility two weeks ago for causing a pair of small quakes there earlier this year, and a geological study in Oklahoma suggested the same happened there.


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How The GOP Became The Party Of The Rich

I shouldn't have to put a spoiler alert, but I feel it's important to at least give a caveat to some of you out there who would otherwise object to not having one.

I know the following article may not be popular with some. Then again, some conservatives and Republicans will agree with this as I do (several are even quoted in this article at length), so it's worth reading because it does describe an interesting view of the Republican Party from another perspective.

How The GOP Became The Party Of The Rich (November 9, 2011)
"Preacherlike, the president draws the crowd into a call-and-response. 'Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver,' he demands, 'or less?' The crowd, sounding every bit like the protesters from Occupy Wall Street, roars back: 'MORE!' The year was 1985. The president was Ronald Wilson Reagan."

Again, it takes an entertainment magazine columnist to dare write what mainstream journalists dare not...



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Shorter school year for California and Washington?


WA school superintendents push for shorter school year as a budget fix

Analyst: Calif. faces $13B deficit next year "Additionally, because revenue is projected to fall short by more than $2 billion, the state would cut public school funding, an amount that will have to be determined by Brown's finance director. That could lead to shortening the school year up to seven days. "


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Delaying retirement: 80 is the new 65

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- A quarter of middle-class Americans are now so pessimistic about their savings that they are planning to delay retirement until they are at least 80 years old -- two years longer than the average person is even expected to live.

It sounds depressing, but for many it's a necessity. On average, Americans have only saved a mere 7% of the retirement nest egg they were hoping to build, according to Wells Fargo's latest retirement survey that polled 1,500 middle-class Americans.

While respondents (whose ages ranged from 20 to 80) had median savings of only $25,000, their median retirement savings goal was $350,000. And 30% of people in their 60s -- right around the traditional retirement age of 65 -- that were surveyed had saved less than $25,000 for retirement.

As a result, many people aren't in a hurry to quit their day jobs.


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National Debt now passes $15 trillion


Treasury Direct link

The Debt to the Penny and Who Holds It

( Debt Held by the Public vs. Intragovernmental Holdings )

Current Debt Held by the Public Intragovernmental Holdings Total Public Debt Outstanding
11/15/2011 10,314,468,105,168.02 4,719,139,150,752.30 15,033,607,255,920.32




"Spain's Socialist government admitted for the first time Wednesday it will miss its 2011 economic growth target, just four days before an expected election drubbing.

Spain's sovereign borrowing costs inched up meanwhile, raising the stakes for the next government amid tension on international markets about whether the company could fall victim to the eurozone debt crisis.

The government had refused to budge from its target of 1.3 percent growth this year despite a string of weak data and a eurozone debt crisis that forced steep spending cuts.

In a final news conference before general elections Sunday, Deputy Finance Minister Jose Manuel Campa conceded that 2011 growth would come in far below the official goal.

"We have to expect growth in this quarter similar to what we have had up to now, so average growth for the year will be close to what we have now," he said.

Annual economic growth in the third quarter was 0.8 percent, the National Statistics Institute said.

When comparing economic output to the level of the previous three months, growth slumped to zero in the third quarter from 0.2 percent in the second, the institute said."


"Pessimism grew Wednesday about whether a special U.S. congressional deficit-cutting "supercommittee" will be able to reach a bargain on cutting the national debt with one week to go before its deadline.

The panel was established this summer in a deal between President Barack Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner after a bruising fight over budget and debt limits that weighed on financial markets.

The down-to-the-wire deal averted what would have been the first government default in U.S. history.

The terms of the deal require the panel to agree on how to reach a deficit of $1.2 trillion US in the coming fiscal year. Failure would trigger across-the-board spending cuts. The U.S. national debt now totals about $15 trillion.

A Democrat committee member Wednesday questioned whether Republicans on the panel are still willing to deal."

"Fitch Ratings said Wednesday that the credit outlook for U.S. banks can worsen if the euro-zone debt crisis is not resolved in a timely manner. "Fitch's current outlook for the industry is stable, reflecting improved fundamentals at most banks combined with ratings lower than at pre-crisis levels. However, risks of a negative shock are rising and could alter this outlook," the ratings agengy said. Fitch maintained Europe's sovereign debt crisis still poses a threat to U.S. banks even though the institions have reduced their exposure to the region over the past year."

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I was told yesterday (by

I was told yesterday (by the assistant vice principal) that students in the high school have required study hall time because they cannot afford the teachers to offer 8 classes a day for all students.  I was a bit shocked by this.

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dickey45 wrote: I was told
dickey45 wrote:

I was told yesterday (by the assistant vice principal) that students in the high school have required study hall time because they cannot afford the teachers to offer 8 classes a day for all students.  I was a bit shocked by this.

Can't continue to teach painting, art, creative art, choir 1, choir 2, campus living, sewing, environment 1, environment 2, band 1, band 2, concert band, advanced band, symphoney band, robotics 1, robotics 2, etc, etc, etc... and yet not learn simple math, speak or write proper english, or none of the basics.

We are getting our collective rears kicked by countries that focus on the basics.  We're interested in feel good success, and feel good classes.  The real world doesn't care how good you feel, they want your money, your business, your future.

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Totally unelected government in Italy!

Introducing Italy's Brand New Government

It is oddly fitting that Goldman Sachs, which now has Europe by the short and curlies, would make the first official introduction of its puppet Italian government.

From Goldman's Francesco Garzarelli

Italian PM designate Mario Monti has unveiled the composition of his Cabinet. Key Ministries are taken by high profile and widely respected figures, mostly from academia and the civil service. In a departure from the ‘technocrat’ government of Ciampi in 1993, the Monti government has no elected representatives. PM Monti will lay out his government’s program tomorrow in the Senate, ahead of a vote of confidence. Broad bipartisan support for the new government is expected, at least initially. PM Monti is likely to hold office until general elections are held in the Spring of 2013.


Prime Minister: Prof. Mario Monti – former EU Commissioner (1994-2004) and President of Bocconi University. His deputy will be Prof. Antonio Catricalà, currently head of the antitrust regulator.

Finance Minister: Mario Monti. Junior ministers will be appointed in the coming days and, according to the press, could include well-known economics professors.

Labor and Welfare Minister: Prof. Elsa Fornero, a highly respected expert in social security. Prof Fornero heads the Centre for Research on Pension and Welfare policies – an Italian research institute at the University of Turin.

Economic Development Minister/Infrastructure/Transport: Corrado Passera, currently CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo – the largest Italian domestic bank.

Foreign Minister: Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, the current Italian Ambassador to the United States.

Justice Minister: Prof. Paola Severino, who lectures in law at LUISS University in Rome.

Interior Minister: Anna Maria Cancellieri, who has been prefect (a senior law enforcer appointed by the central government) in several Italian provinces (the layer of local government between municipalities and regions, which the previous government planned to scrap).

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Re: Totally unelected government in Italy!

I know.

Even as jaded as I am, when I read this I couldn't fricken believe it.

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Mike Mayo on Volker Rule and Margin Call

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Citigroup’s Buiter Says Europe Must Stop Default Now: Tom Keene


(For 11/17)

"The Spanish Treasury on Thursday sold €3.562 billion ($4.79 billion) of benchmark 10-year paper at a maximum yield of 7.088%, which was the highest yield paid since the euro's inception. The bond represents a new series, therefore yields cannot be directly compared to results of a prior-10-year auction, the Treasury said."

"Europe has as little as days or weeks to act to avoid a default by a euro-region country, Citigroup Inc. Chief Economist Willem Buiter said today."

Other headlines:


  1. France sells debt but borrowing costs rise: report
  2. Spanish and French bond yields soar
  3. Italy bank association calls for BTP-day on Nov.28
  4. Italy to Sell 440 Billion Euros of Debt in 2012, Cannata Says
  5. Greek 10-Month Budget Deficit Widens to 20.1 Billion Euros
  6. Factbox: Banks to cut more than 120,000 jobs
  7. Citigroup may cut 3,000 or more jobs
  8. Detroit mayor: Concessions vital to avoid takeover and Detroit Faces $45 Million Gap, State Takeover, Mayor Bing Says
  9. U.S. Banks Face Contagion Risk From European Debt (More info from yesterday's news)
  10. Moody's downgrades raft of German banks
  11. Franco-German Battle over the ECB Intensifies
  12. North Las Vegas facing $15.5 million budget deficit
  13. Palm Beach County school officials foresee $52 million budget deficit next year
  14. Cities brace for 'Occupy' movement's 'mass day'
  15. Henrico facing estimated $71 million budget shortfall (Virginia)
  16. Ireland to hike sales tax to 23%
  17. Robo-signing scheme busted (Las Vegas)
  18. Fitch: Imperative that Italy retains market access

Note: Zerohedge here wrote about a massive buy of Italian and Spanish debt by the ECB. It is confirmed here and here. Here are the current 10 year yields (and graphs) from Italy and Spain.

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