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Berlusconi Stays Defiant as Europe’s Crisis Focuses on Italy

Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said he alone can deliver the country’s promised deficit cuts as European leaders ramp up demands that his government do its part to combat the region’s debt crisis.

The European Union’s latest package of measures failed to staunch a rise in Italian borrowing costs, with an Oct. 28 bond sale sending yields to a euro-era record and damping the euphoria unleashed after the summit that ended the day before. Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker insisted that Italy should deliver “substantial structural reform.”

“We’re watching very closely,” Juncker said in an interview yesterday on Germany’s ARD. “Italy can’t simply do what suits it, but rather act as we’ve agreed together.”

Italian five-year notes fell, pushing the yield eight basis points higher to 5.83 percent at 8:06 a.m. London time, the highest since the euro was introduced in 1999. On Oct. 28, the Rome-based Treasury sold 3.08 billion euros of 2014 bonds to yield 4.93 percent, the highest since November 2000.

The euro slid 0.9 percent to trade at 1.4020 to the U.S. dollar as of 9:53 a.m. Frankfurt time.

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