Italian consumer confidence dropped this month on concerns the country’s fourth recession since 2001 will deepen.
The confidence index declined to 86 from 86.5 in July, the national statistics office, Istat, said in Rome today. The drop matched economists’ forecasts, according to the median of 11 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.
Italy’s economy contracted for a fourth straight quarter in the three months through June as manufacturing slumped and the euro-area debt crisis intensified. Prime Minister Mario Monti is implementing 20 billion euros ($25 billion) in austerity measures that have curtailed consumer spending, pushed gasoline prices to record highs and prompted Italy’s largest manufacturer, Fiat SpA, to curb investment.
Monti’s government forecasts that the euro area’s third- largest economy will shrink 1.2 percent this year, while employers lobby Confindustria forecasts a contraction of twice that pace.
Fiat Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said he will make a decision about restructuring in Europe, including further plant closings in Italy, after third-quarter earnings. Any additional layoffs at Fiat, the company’s biggest employer, could further hit Italy’s jobless rate, already at the highest level in almost 13 years.
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