Italy should use gold-backed bonds as an alternative to austerity: WGC

Most Italians would be opposed to the country selling its gold bullion reserves to ease the national debt burden, shows a report published Thursday by The World Gold Council, organization funded by mining companies.

Instead of Italy continuing to bring down its public debt and make permanent spending cuts, the study suggests the country should use gold-backed bonds as a collateral.

The WGC added that such a strategy would be a more remedial answer for these nations than outright gold reserve sales, a strategy that has been discussed by Cypriot authorities.

“This report underlines the significant level of support among the Italian population for a renewed focus on growth and a rejection of austerity, sending a very clear message to the new government,” said Natalie Dempster, WGC director of government affairs.

The report, based on research carried out by the independent research firm Ipsos MORI, shows that Italian business leaders (92%) and citizens (85%) overwhelmingly agree that the nation’s gold reserves have an important and positive role to play in the country’s economic recovery. Only 4% of citizens and business leaders would support the sale of Italy’s gold reserves, while 52% of citizens and 61% of business leaders would endorse using, but not selling, national gold reserves.

According to the organization, independent research shows that using gold to collateralize bonds can raise between four and five times the sales value of the gold reserves, while lowering the yield —the interest rate Italy pays to borrow— by up to several percentage points.

 

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