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Italian growth numbers offer recovery hope

Italian growth numbers offer recovery hope
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Italy’s economy continues to contract, but the decline is slowing.

Gross domestic product fell for the eighth straight quarter between April and June.

GDP dropped 0.2 percent from the previous quarter and was 2.0 percent down on the same period last year.

That was a big improvement on the 0.6 percent contraction in the first three months of the year.

Italy’s longest post-war recession may be bottoming out, but a simmering political crisis could yet derail the tentative recovery.

Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s recent tax fraud conviction threatens to undermine the country’s shaky coalition.

Current PM Enrico Letta said: “We are beginning to see signs of recovery, but this needs stability, and that requires responsible behaviour from everyone.”

Investors have so far shrugged off the political problems, the Italian government’s cost of borrowing on its bonds were the lowest they have been in six weeks this week on the signs of economic stabilisation.