Italy's borrowing costs fall in bond auction

Euro notes and coins
Image caption Investors bid for 1.22 times the amount on offer

Italy's cost of borrowing has fallen at the government's latest bond auction, though some analysts were disappointed by the level of demand.

Italy raised its target of 4.75bn euros (£3.96bn) in Friday's bond sale.

The interest rate on the government's benchmark three-year bond fell to 4.83% from 5.62% at the last auction at the end of December.

On Thursday, Spain raised 10bn euros in a bond auction - twice as much as its original target.

The interest rate on Italian 12-month bonds also fell on Thursday after it raised 12bn euros.

"After the stellar bill auction in Italy and the very good Spanish auctions yesterday, there will be some disappointment in the market," said Marc Ostwald, strategist at Monument Securities.

The three-year Italian bond drew bids worth 1.22 times the amount on offer. At Thursday's Spanish auction, investors bid for almost four times the amount originally offered.

Analysts say demand at recent auctions has been boosted by cheap funds from the European Central Bank (ECB).

The ECB launched new, cheaper three-year loans on 21 December that were snapped up by eurozone banks, who borrowed some 489bn euros.