Italy is very much the hot area for securitization in Europe, according to statistics released recently by Merrill Lynch's ABS research team. The news come as no real surprise following the introduction of a specific securitization law last April (ASRI 5/3/1999 p.1).

So far this year, Italy has seen 16 deals for a total volume of $6.132 billion, compared to just eight deals in the whole of 1999 for a total of $7.733 billion (a total that includes INPS E4.65 billion jumbo) With four months of the year remaining, and with more deals in the pipeline, the total issuance is well on course to exceed last year's figure.

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