Italy and France far-right leaders slam Brussels 'bunker'

Marine Le Pen and Matteo Salvini shake hands before holding a news conference in Rome on Oct. 8

The single currency fell almost half a per cent against the dollar to US$1.1468 and not far from a more than one-year low of US$1.1355 hit in mid-August.

The Milan stock exchange lost 300 points with banks taking the hardest hit.

THE euro fell across the board on Monday, posting its biggest drop against the Swiss franc since early September as a spat between Rome and the European Union over Italy's budget plans forced a spike in Italian bond yields.

Rome is defying Brussels and has resolved to maintain a 2,4% budget deficit, which is three times higher than the commitment taken by the previous government. Italy is the third biggest economy in the Eurozone with an industrial base second only to Germany.

Simon Derrick, chief currency strategist at BNY Mellon said that on the pretext of present degrees of stress in the Italian markets, what remains to be answered yet is how much the Bund/BTP permit openings can blow out and how this could be construed back into the FX market.

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The standoff is about to culminate as the Italian government will deliver a draft 2019 budget to the European Commission on October 15.

Another cabinet minister with well-known anti-EU tendencies, meanwhile, felt it necessary to insist that there was "no chance" of Italy defaulting on any of the country's 2.3 trillion euros worth of debt.

The head of the Lega Nord claimed that European Union officials were the "enemies of Europe", during a controversial press conference with France's far-right politician Marine Le Pen.

"I hope no one has prejudice towards this government, or unusual intentions", Salvini, who is also head of the ruling far-right League party, said in an interview with RTL 102.5 radio. "It will be the emergence of a Europe of nations, a Europe of respect, a Europe of protection", she said, referring to the EU Parliament vote.

And there was also little sign of any retreat or surrender to the bond market or the European Commission: "We will not backtrack, we will not backtrack", Salvini insisted, adding that "Speculators acting like Soros are betting on Italy's collapse to buy at discount prices the healthy companies, and there are many of them, that have remained in this country".

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