ROME (dpa) – Italy, the eurozone’s third largest economy, is likely to have contracted again over the last quarter, the country’s statistics office said on Tuesday.
Istat said in its monthly note that its leading composite indicator, which it uses for economic forecasts, is slowing down, “suggesting a new fall in gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter of the year.”
The gloomy outlook was released hours before the government announced its latest economic forecasts, at the end of a cabinet meeting late on Tuesday.
GDP was expected to contract by 0.3 per cent in 2014, and grow by 0.6 per cent in 2015. Deficit was slated to stay at 3 per cent of GDP for the third year in a row in 2014, and fall slightly to 2.9 per cent of GDP in 2015.
Italy, suffering from the worst slump since World War II, is the only major economy that is still stuck in a recession. On a quarterly basis, GDP shrank by 0.1 and 0.2 per cent in the first two quarters of the year.
Separately, Istat said unemployment in August had fallen to 12.3 per cent, down 0.3 per cent from July, even though the jobless rate for those aged 15 to 24 rose by 1 per cent to a record 44.2 per cent.