Italy's Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli brushed aside on Saturday any threat to next week's debt auctions from the latest downgrade of the country's debt.
Italy is one of the world's biggest sovereign debtors and investors have been rattled by elections that delivered a strong protest vote against the sort of austerity measures that would be a condition of any European Central Bank support in the debt markets.
"Obviously (the downgrade) does not please me, but it does not surprise me," Grilli said of Friday's one-notch cut from Fitch, taking Italy's sovereign rating to BBB-plus.
"We always prepare debt sales in every detail," Grilli said on the sidelines of The European House-Ambrosetti workshop.
"I am confident that next week's debt auctions will go well," he said.
The Italian treasury will offer 7.75 billion euros (6 billion pounds) of one-year bills on March 12 and up to 7.25 billion euros of BTP bond and CCTeu floating rate notes on March 13.
Fitch said its outlook on Italy's debt was negative, raising the risk its next move will be a further downgrade.
The rating agency said the downgrade was partly due to political uncertainty after last week's inconclusive vote but also to deep recession and rising debt.
Grilli said the country would continue on the reform trail started by Mario Monti's technocrat government.
The February vote produced a hung parliament, with a centre-left coalition winning the lower house but falling short of control of the Senate, which has equal legislative powers.
"The vote took place only few days ago, Italy is moving within the normal timeframe every country needs in order to take political decisions," Grilli said on Saturday, adding he expected clarity on the political front in the next few days.
"The treasury will do everything necessary to keep the country safe," he said.
(Reporting by Francesca Landini, editing by Stephen Jewkes/Ruth Pitchford)