As Greece nears default and Italy struggles to keep from losing control over its own debt problems, the latter has been engaged in talks with China over the possibility of asset sales to the Asian nation.
Bloomberg reported Tuesday that according Filippo Pepe, the spokesman for Italian Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti, Tremonti met with Chinese officials in Rome earlier in the month. Under discussion was the possibility of Chinese investment in Italy, in other areas than bonds. While Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu did not refer specifically to Italy, when asked about the possible purchase of Italian assets, she said Europe is one of the country’s main investment targets.
Bonds had been the topic of discussion at one point, however, according to Reuters, which cited a Financial Times report that Rome had asked Beijing to purchase “significant” amounts of bonds. That did not happen. A Tuesday bond auction saw little demand and high premiums, with investors showing reluctance to sink more money into the country’s debt, and no white knight riding to the rescue.