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MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's public debt is sustainable and the average yields paid on new government paper issued so far this year are lower than they were before the crisis, the head of Italy's Debt Management Office said in a newspaper interview published on Wednesday.
"In the first nine months of the year, in which we placed around 80 percent of planned issuance, the average cost of issuing debt has been 2.4 percent," Maria Cannata told Corriere della Sera daily.
She said that compared with 3.61 percent in 2011, 4.09 percent in 2008 and 4.14 percent in 2007.
"The rates on newly issued debt are low. Lower, for example, than they were in the years before the crisis," Cannata said.
She described current market conditions as "good" adding however: "We are still far from normality."
"We can't say, nobody can say that the storm will not return."
She said foreign investors had resumed buying Italian debt, also on longer maturities.
"They had already come back in August, but limited to shorter maturities, maximum three years. In September they also took part in the mid-month auctions, on longer maturities. This is very positive," she said.
Cannata said the Treasury had carefully timed a new BTP Italia bond which will be sold in mid-October and is aimed at retail investors.
"In mid-October the one-year BOT and the 10-year BTP will come due: there will be sufficient liquidity, moreover there'll be no fiscal deadlines weighing on the finances of savers and small investors."
Asked why the spread between Italian 10-year BTP bonds and Germany's Bund remained high, Cannata said this was because the yields on German bonds were too low.
"This of course creates problems for the real economy because it increases the cost of credit for Italy."
Reporting by Silvia Aloisi; Editing by Jon Hemming