Italian industrial production declined in April as demand for the nation’s manufactured goods slumped at home and abroad amid Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis.
Output dropped 1.9 percent from March, when it rose a revised 0.6 percent, national statistics office Istat said in Rome today. Economists forecast a fall of 0.5 percent, according to the median of 21 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Production fell 9.2 percent from a year ago on a workday- adjusted basis.
Italy’s economy fell into a recession in the fourth quarter of last year just as Prime Minister Mario Monti pushed through 20 billion euros ($25 billion) in austerity measures to tackle the debt crisis. Joblessness at 10.2 percent is the highest in more than a decade and consumer confidence is at the lowest in more than 15 years as the economy of the 17-nation euro region grinds to a halt on the debt crisis.
Italian consumer spending fell for four straight months on an annual basis through April, the last month for which data are available. Retail sales declined in nine of the last 12 months through March, while industrial orders fell for seven months through March.
Euro-area services and manufacturing output contracted at the fastest pace in almost three years in May, adding to signs the region’s economy is suffering under worsening debt woes, London-based Markit Economics said on June 5. New registrations for cars in Italy declined in 11 of the 12 months through May.
The two fatal earthquakes that hit the Emilia-Romagna region last month are likely to hurt industrial output there for as long as six months, Giorgio Squinzi, the new leader of employers’ lobby Confindustria, told reporters in Rome this week. Fiat SpA (F)’s sports-car makers Ferrari SpA, based in Maranello near Modena, and Maserati SpA temporarily suspended operations at factories in the region after the second temblor struck on May 29.
The affected region “makes up for more than 1 percent of Italy’s gross domestic product, thus we risk an additional contraction of GDP just because of the quakes,” Squinzi said.
The two quakes caused more than 4 billion euros in economic damage, Confindustria estimates. About 600 industrial companies employing more than 12,000 workers were “directly damaged” by the quakes, according to the employer lobby.
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