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MILAN: Foreign investors increased their holdings of Italian government bonds in April for the second month in a row, Bank of Italy data showed on Monday.

Foreign holdings of Italian bonds stood at 652.31 billion euros ($735.28 billion), up from a revised figure of 647.71 billion euros in March - a month in which foreigners had already increased their holdings by over 5 billion euros from February.

The increase over those two months bucks a trend of falling foreign holdings seen since a populist government took power in June last year.

Based on Reuters calculations, foreigners held 32.4% of all Italian government bonds in April, a broadly stable percentage compared with a month earlier.

The figure includes part of the purchases carried out by the European Central Bank under its bond-buying programme as well as Italian residents' foreign holdings, which account for around 9-10% of the total.

The Bank of Italy's monthly report also showed Italy's debt stood at 2.365 trillion euros in May, 8.7 billion euros lower than the revised figure from the previous month.

Copyright Reuters, 2019