Italian economy sluggish for 2016 but showing signs of improving

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By Euronews
Italian economy sluggish for 2016 but showing signs of improving

It has been confirmed that Italy’s economy grew by just 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter of last year from the previous three month period.

That means for all of 2016 it expanded by 1.0 percent year-on-year which was slightly worst than the 1.1 percent initially calculated last month by the country’s national statistics institute ISTAT.

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The figure is reassuring for the government of Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who is forecasting 1.0 percent economic growth in 2017.

Italy is the eurozone’s third largest economy and the region’s most chronically sluggish due to years of recession, high unemployment and towering debt.

ISTAT said that Italy’s GDP for 2016 was still seven percent lower than at the start of the economic crisis in 2008 despite two years of recovery.

Early in February, in its monthly economic bulletin, ISTAT said Italy’s economy showed signs of improving in the coming months. The agency highlighted a modest pick-up in the manufacturing sector.

“A recovery in the manufacturing sector is strengthening, suggesting improvement in families’ purchasing power and an increase in investments,” ISTAT said at the time.

That sentiment was echoed in an economic report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Also on Friday we learned from newly released survey results that Italy’s service sector grew at its fastest rate for more than a year in February.