ECB chief downplays impact of Italian vote on markets

The head of the European Central Bank on Thursday played down the impact of the Italian election result last week, noting that uncertainty had not spread to other countries or the markets.

"If we look at contagion, you've seen that the contagion to other countries has been muted this time, contrary to what might have happened about a year and a half ago," Mario Draghi told a regular monthly ECB news conference.

He added: "As you see, markets, after some excitement immediately after the elections have now reverted back more or less to what they were before."

Italian-born Draghi noted that financial markets were in more confident mood than before and had recognised that elections were extremely frequent in the 17-country eurozone.

"All in all, right now, markets were less impressed than politicians and you," he quipped, referring to the assembled media.

He also shrugged off concerns that reforms in Italy could stall given the uncertain political situation.

"You have to consider that much of the fiscal adjustment that Italy went through will continue going on on automatic pilot," said Draghi.