Feb. 26 - Italy's inconclusive election result sparked a sell-off on world equity markets and sent safe-haven German bonds sharply lower as investors feared a resurgence of the euro debt crisis. Sonia Legg reports.
Investors had hoped Italy would avoid a worst case scenario - sadly they didn't. The inconclusive election result sparked a sell off on world equity markets and sent safe-haven German bond yields sharply lower. The big fear - says Frankfurt trader Oliver Roth - is a resurgence of the euro zone debt crisis (SOUNDBITE) (English) OLIVER ROTH, TRADER WITH CLOSE BROTHERS SEYDLER BANK, SAYING: "We've had a ceasefire within the last couple of months concerning the euro crisis and there may be an end now because of the Italian election. The uncertainties are coming back and I guess that we will have a lot of trouble with this election in the aftermath." The euro briefly touched a seven week low against the dollar and yields on 10-year-Italian government bonds jumped 45 basis points . Italy's main stock index fell more than 5 percent with shares in the country's main banks down as much as 10 percent. Giuseppe Ragusa is an Italian economist (SOUNDBITE) (English) ECONOMIST FROM LUISS UNIVERSITY, GIUSEPPE RAGUSA, SAYING: "It's going to be an almost global negative effect. The hope is that it's only going to last a few days and eventually Italian politicians are going to be able to resolve this uncertainty with a great sense of responsibility." As all Europe's main indexes fell by as much as 2.5% that was the key question. Will the crisis be long term? Schroder's Virginie Maisonneuv - thinks not. (SOUNDBITE) (English): VIRGINIE MAISONNEUV, HEAD OF GLOBAL EQUITIES, SCHRODERS, SAYING: "It doesn't derail the longer term story that things are gradually getting better from the abyss we were at last year. This Italian election with this wind against austerity as well as the US sequestration and cuts combined with some numbers from China that are slightly weaker than the january numbers - all of this provided a very good excuse for investors to take profits from markets that have been extraordinarily strong." Rome's newspaper summed up the political crisis facing Italy They declared the election winner was "Ingovernability". A protest vote for a former comedian did much of the damage. But many are wondering who's laughing now?