City says Italy needs a bailout before the end of year but EU and IMF will not be able to afford it

ITALY will need a financial rescue this year but the Eurozone and IMF do not have the financial clout to put a bailout package together. That is the stark conclusion of the City A.M./PoliticsHome Voice of the City Panel.

Of those panellists who expressed an opinion on whether Italy would need a bailout, 60 per cent said it would against 40 per cent who thought it would not.

But 55 per cent of panellists who expressed an opinion said the EU and IMF would be unable to afford a bailout against 45 per cent who said they would.

Despite this, the vast majority of panellists – 60 per cent – said they expected Italy to still be in the Euro by 2014 against 29 per cent who did not. Twelve per cent did not know.

A massive majority (88 per cent) of panellists said the UK economy would be damaged if Italy were to default, against just nine per cent who thought the UK would emerge unscathed.

A huge number of panellists felt an Italian default would lead to the collapse of the Eurozone and trigger a domino effect in the world economy.

Large numbers also felt it would herald a double-dip recession, arguing that an Italian default could spark a chain of events similar to the reaction following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

While some felt the chances of Italian default were overblown, others used the words “apocalyptic”or “Armageddon” to describe a default.

• City A.M. and PoliticsHome interviewed 460 members of the Voice of the City panel by email last week. Members have been specially recruited to represent a cross section of London’s financial and business community.