Italy may not be feeling the amore of exchange traded fund (ETF) investors, but that could soon change as one of the country’s leader has far-reaching sway over the country and its economy.
The Italian state has been a major player in an economy that favors private connections. Italy, like most European countries, has been open to bailing out failing financial institutions. Italy’s prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, also happens to be the most powerful and wealthiest businessmen in the private sector. He has the potential to take the spoils system to a new level.
Rachel Donadio for The New York Times says that as the markets fell and the panic set in this month, Berlusconi took a 40% hit within his own private shares. However, this hasn’t fazed him, as he is in a powerful and unparalled position within Italy’s economy and politics. He stands to control billions of dollars in public money to bail out private companies.
Some Italians feel that his power is dangerous, while others feel that it’s necessary in these times. Either way, many believe that he influences the economy. Italy bucks the trend of many other countries, where a leader’s popularity rises and falls in tandem with the economy.
While the Milan stock market has dropped 22% since Sept. 1 and economic anxieties are heightened, Berlusconi’s approval ratings are at 62%.
iShares MSCI Italy (EWI) could soon feel the effects of Berlusconi’s wide influence in one way or another. The fund is down 52.6% year-to-date.
The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.