Berlusconi delays critical parliamentary speech

Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, has delayed a critical parliamentary speech until after markets close this evening.

He will now address the Chamber of Deputies later today on the country’s financial crisis, one day after yields on Italian 10-year government bonds reached their highest levels since 1997, reports the FT

After two days of rising yields, the rates have fallen back slightly to about 6.02%.

Italy has so far managed to avoid requesting a bailout, despite government debt levels climbing to nearly 120% of GDP.

Italy has one of the highest public debt levels in the world and recently passed a three-year, €40 billion (£35 billion) austerity package which Berlusconi claimed could erase the country’s budget deficit, worth 4.5% of its GDP, by 2014.