Friday, July 5, 2013


Italian Central Bank reports:Fresh data show Italian economy in decline.

ROME, July 5 - As crisis-hit Italy struggles to stimulate growth, new figures released on Friday showed that the country's economy was in decline.

According to the Italian central bank, national public debt reached 127 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) last year, up from 120.8 percent in 2011, placing the country second in the European Union (EU) after Greece.

Tax burdens continued to be a major obstacle to recovery, increasing to 44 percent of GDP in 2012, up from 42.6 percent in 2011.

Hit by the longest recession in over 20 years, Italian households have been largely cutting back on spending.

The percentage of those cutting back on food quality or quantity rose to 62.3 percent last year from 53.6 percent in 2011, the national statistics institute Istat said in a report.

Overall consumer spending in the eurozone's third-largest economy also dropped by a record 2.8 percent in 2012, the deepest plunge since Istat started its current measuring system in 1997.

Unemployment levels for young Italians under the age of 25, presently at almost 40 percent compared with an EU average of 23.5 percent, remained "unacceptable," according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF also revised down its forecasts for Italy to a 1.8 percent contraction in 2013 from a previous 1.5-percent drop.

Italy's leading industrial association Confindustria expects GDP to fall by 1.9 percent this year.

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