Investors snub Italian bonds amid budget spat with EU

MILAN (AP) — Investors are snubbing Italian bonds as a battle heats up between the nation's populist government and the European Commission over the country's budget.

Orders for the four-year Italian bonds on Thursday reached 2.16 billion euros ($2.47 billion), well below the more than 8 billion euros expected and the second-worst result ever. The record was 22.2 billion euros in November 2013, while the lowest level was 1.73 billion euros in June 2012.

Italy risks sanctions after the European Commission warned Italy that its budget plans are in serious breach of eurozone rules.

Italian Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio told reporters that he hopes Italy can persuade the EU of the necessity to spend to help pensioners, the jobless and the young.