MILAN, June 17 (Reuters) - Foreign investors increased their holdings of Italian government bonds in March after a slight reduction the previous month, data showed on Monday.
International investors have been reducing their exposure to Italy since an anti-establishment coalition took power before last summer, pledging to ramp up public spending.
Foreign holdings of Italian bonds stood at 648.92 billion euros ($727.7 billion), up from 645.54 billion euros in February, a month in which foreigners shed some 5 billion euros off their Italian debt holdings, the Bank of Italy said.
Based on Reuters calculations, foreigners held 32.5% of all Italian government bonds in March, up from 32.2% in February. The figure includes part of the purchases carried out by the European Central Bank under its bond-buying programme as well as Italian residents’ foreign holdings, which account for around 9-10% of the total.
The Bank of Italy’s monthly report also showed Italy’s debt stood at 2.373 trillion euros in April, 14.8 billion euros higher than the revised figure from the previous month. ($1 = 0.8917 euros) (Writing by Alessia Pé, editing by Silvia Aloisi)