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Italian borrowing rates rise again as officials seek agreement on anti-crisis measures
ROME (AP) ' Italy's borrowing rates soared again on Wednesday as top officials sought agreement on concrete measures to prevent the continent's sovereign debt crisis from engulfing the eurozone's third-largest economy.
Yields on 10-year bonds jumped to 6.19 percent on the secondary market, 4.34 percentage points higher than the rate on the German equivalent bond, considered the safest in Europe. The yield is indicative of the rate the Italian government would have to pay if it raised 10-year loans from capital markets.
Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti was scheduled to meet later Wednesday with the nation's top finance officials focused on warding off a crisis.
The participants at that meeting in Rome are members of Italy's Financial Stability Safeguard Committee, which includes a new central bank chief, the stock market watchdog body's president, and other top officials.
Italian news reports said Premier Silvio Berlusconi met earlier at his office with key ministers about Italy's economic strategy following the latest market turbulence caused by Greece's decision to propose a public referendum on its hard-fought European Union debt deal.
EU leaders have been pressing Rome to move quickly on measures to stimulate Italy's virtually flat economy.