Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Photo: AFP
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Photo: AFP

Fears of political instability in Spain and Italy spurred a sell-off in the two countries’ sovereign bonds on Friday, raising the specter of spillover into global markets.

Concern over a run out of Italian debt has been building since a populist coalition formed, and their inability to get presidential approval for ministers has only made matters worse, as The Financial Times reported Friday.

“We saw in Greece how dangerous it is if a country has a bigger and bigger debt and I hope that we will not have a second Greece in our neighbouring country, Italy,” Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, the main opposition party in Spain called for a vote of no-confidence in Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, sending Spain’s main stock benchmark plunging as much as 2.7%.

The sell-off in Italian debt is still of greater concern. As we wrote last week, with Italy’s US$2 trillion in outstanding government debt, a run out of the country’s assets would have spillover effects everywhere.