Foreign holdings of Italian debt fell in May - Bank of Italy

MILAN, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Foreign investors reduced their holdings of Italian government bonds in May, after increasing them for the previous two months in a row, Bank of Italy data showed on Wednesday.

Foreign holdings of Italian bonds stood at 646.53 billion euros ($722.7 billion), down from a revised figure of 651.81 billion euros in April.

After an increase both in April and in March, May resumed a trend of falling foreign holdings seen since a populist government -- now collapsed -- took power in June last year.

Based on Reuters calculations, foreigners held 32.2% of all Italian government bonds in May, slightly down from 32.4% the previous month.

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 2.386 trillion euros in June, 21.5 billion higher than in May.

$1 = 0.8946 euros Writing by Alessia Pé, editing by Silvia Aloisi