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Italy plunges back into recession: statistics agency

Italy plunges back into recession: statistics agency
By Louise Miner with Reuters
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Italy plunges back into recession, said the national statistics agency.


Italy has fallen back into recession according to official figures from the Italian statistics agency.

Statistics show that Italy's economy contracted for the second consecutive quarter at the end of last year. This decline intensified concerns about the Eurozone economy.

The Italian economy is the third largest in the Eurozone but its gross domestic product fell a quarterly 0.2% between October and December. This came after a 0.1% decline in the third quarter, and was up 0.1% on an annual basis, reported national statistics bureau ISTAT. 

People like columnist and investorJeroen Blokland took to Twitter to announce the news.

Critics said the economic drop is down to the coalition parties fighting with Brussels over fiscal policy, creating a loss of market confidence. This pushed up Italy's borrowing costs and hurt the economy.

But Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte blamed the trade spat between the US and China, which he said affected Italy’s exports. China and Germany are Italy's main trading partners.

"This is a transition phase since this is due to a customs duty war, which is happening right now. So, no worries on our side. What we care about is to concentrate on our relaunch, on the relaunch of our economy which will take place for sure in 2019 since now the economic measures we put in our budget law will start having an effect." said Conte.

A Professor of Economics at LUISS University, Giorgio Di Giorgio, told Reuters that the economy has been declining for many years.

"We speak about a technical recession when the GDP, that is the number of goods and service that are produced in one country, declines for two quarters in a row. This means that economic activity is slowing down. But, it's actually declining and unfortunately for Italy, this is not anything new. The Italian economy has been growing less than the average in other European countries for the past twenty-five years, unfortunately."

Italy has a debt of €2.3 trillion.

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