Italy's borrowing costs drop at auction

Italy's three-year debt costs fell below five per cent at the first bond auction of the year spurring hopes the troubled borrower would be able to make it through a refinancing hump in the first months of the year.

Domestic demand fuelled by cheap European Central Bank funds allowed Italy to raise the maximum planned amount of 4.75 billion euros (£3.06bn) at the sale, after helping Spain sell twice the targeted amount of bonds at lower rates at an auction on Thursday.

Italy sold its November 2014 three-year benchmark bond at an average rate of 4.83 per cent on Friday, down from a 5.62 yield it paid only around two weeks ago.