ROME, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Financial markets remain keenly focused on Italy's ability to control its public finances and pursue reforms to lift its stagnant economy, European Central Bank governing council member Ignazio Visco said on Saturday.
'Italy must not lower its guard,' Visco, the governor of the Bank of Italy, said according to the text of a speech at a conference in Bergamo.
'The attention of international investors continues to focus, rightly, on our capacity to preserve balance in public finances and to pursue with determination, an increase in our development potential,' he said.
He said periodic bouts of market tension, which have been seen over the past few weeks as elections on Feb 24-25 approach, underlined the fragility of the situation facing Italy, which is stuck in deep recession with a public debt burden second only to Greece in the euro zone.
(Reporting By James Mackenzie; editing by Francesca Landini) Keywords: ITALY ECONOMY/
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