Exports to Switzerland from Italy soared by 35.6pc in February compared with the year before, "mostly due to sales of non-monetary gold", according to Italy's official statistics office, Istat.
The figures showed that the solid gold bars are now Italy's fastest growing export.
Italy exported a total of 120 tonnes of gold to Switzerland last year – a 65pc jump from the amount exported in 2010. Around half of the total was exported in the final quarter of 2011, when fears over Italy's financial stability were at their height.
The rise in February is the latest step in a trend that continued into the new year. Istat said in January that sales of gold rose 34.6pc compared with the same month the year before.
The statistics will not be welcomed by Mario Monti or the financial markets. The technocrat prime minister has announced a raft of reforms designed to raise more revenues from the rich, especially Italy's tax evaders. The reforms are seen as vital to reaching Mr Monti's deficit targets and bolstering the waning confidence in Italy among investors.
Gold bars now Italy's fastest growing export - Telegraph