The European Central Bank promised it would prevent Rome’s borrowing costs from spiraling out of control, and it looks like the bankers meant it. Data released last week highlight the subsidy the ECB already is offering for Italian borrowing, while pointing to political dangers ahead for the central bank and President Christine Lagarde.

The ECB has become preoccupied in recent years with managing the divergence in borrowing costs between the eurozone’s fiscally healthy members and the profligate—a gap most often benchmarked by the spread between Italian and German bond yields. Ms. Lagarde discovered this is part of her job as ECB chief early on, when markets punished her in March 2020 for saying she wasn’t in the business of managing spreads.



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