Monte dei Paschi di Siena is to be rescued by the Italian state using a new €20bn bailout package, as a last-gasp private sector rescue plan for the world’s oldest bank looked set to fail, forcing losses on bondholders.

The government rescue, which had long been resisted in Rome, is designed to draw a line under the slow-burn crisis in Italian banking that has alarmed investors and become the main source of concern for European financial regulators.

The woes of Italy’s banking sector have also spilled over into the political sphere, contributing to the government’s defeat in this month’s constitutional referendum.

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