DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - The Italian economy will grow much more strongly than expected in 2019, with output likely to jump in the second half of the year, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told Reuters on Wednesday.
The government is predicting growth of one percent, but many institutions, including the Bank of Italy, have slashed their forecasts to little more than half that, following an unexpected slowdown at the end of 2018.
However Conte said in an interview that the recent budget would give the economy a big boost, adding that he was aiming for the spread between benchmark 10-year German and Italian debt to fall to some 150 basis points from around 250 at present.
"I am confident and convinced that ... in the second half (of 2019) we will see an incredible acceleration of growth and you'll see that by the end of the year we will far exceed the 1 percent growth that we laid out in our budget," he said.
(Reporting by Alessandra Galloni; Writing by Crispian Balmer, editing by Gavin Jones)