Credit Suisse impact on Italian banking system "insignificant" - minister

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FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: The Credit Suisse logo is displayed on a screen on the floor of the NYSE in New York

MILAN (Reuters) - The impact of the Credit Suisse crisis on the Italian banking system is "insignificant", Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said on Monday.

Giorgetti also expressed surprise at the Swiss authorities' decision to give priority to Credit Suisse shareholders over bondholders in its rescue merger with UBS.

"I repeat and we believe that the repercussions on the Italian banking system are insignificant," he told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Milan.

Top Italian insurers Generali and Unipol, as well as leading lenders Intesa Sanpaolo, UniCredit, Banco BPM, BPER, Monte dei Paschi and Mediobanca have zero or close to zero exposure to Credit Suisse's hybrid bonds which are being written off under the rescue deal, sources close to the matter said.

Some of the world's largest central banks came together on Sunday to try to stop a banking crisis from spreading as Swiss authorities persuaded UBS Group to buy rival Credit Suisse for $3.23 billion and assume up to $5.4 billion in losses in a historic deal.

The Swiss regulator said the decision to write down to zero the Additional Tier 1 bonds, which can be converted into equity or written off if a bank's capital level falls below a certain threshold, would bolster the bank's capital.

In other remarks, Giorgetti said that interest rate hikes by central banks must be "calibrated" to avoid hurting financial stability.

"It seems to me that the markets have calmed down a bit now, I think the situation in Europe is under control", he added.

($1 = 0.9289 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina, writing by Federico Maccioni, editing by Keith Weir and Gavin Jones)