martedì 10 giugno 2014

Economic data show tentative signs of recovery

OECD says Italy seeing 'positive' momentum

(ANSA) - Rome, June 10 - Italy and other eurozone countries saw "positive" economic momentum during the spring while at the same time, growth weakened in several emerging economies, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said Tuesday. Its findings came the same day as healthy gains were reported in Italy's industrial output as well as a rise in consumer spending - rare good news for the struggling Italian economy.

National statistical agency Istat said that industrial output showed an increase of 0.7% in April compared with one month earlier - a jump of 1.6% measured on an annual basis. The increase, when compared with April 2013, was the largest year-on-year rise since 2011. Meanwhile, Istat said that consumer spending increased 0.1% in the first quarter of 2014 compared with the last three months of 2013 - the first rise since the last quarter of 2010, the agency said. But on a quarterly basis, household spending slipped by 0.6% in the January-through-March period compared to the same quarter in 2013. Consumer spending has been hit hard by the economic crisis and low household demand has contributed to the difficulty Italy is having in pulling out of its longest recession since the Second World War.

Many had hoped that Italy was beginning to find its economic footing earlier this year, after the economy had posted positive growth for the first time in over two years at the end of 2013 - albeit growth of just 0.1% in the final three months of last year. However, those hopes were hit hard when Istat reported in mid-May that gross domestic product dropped 0.1% in the first quarter of this year compared with the final three months of 2013.

On Tuesday, Istat confirmed those preliminary estimates and added that Italy's GDP fell by 0.5% in the first quarter when compared to the same period in 2013 - the 10th consecutive year-on-year drop. But the latest figures coupled with the OECD's report suggested some brightness ahead. Composite leading indicators in Italy in April showed "a positive change in (economic) momentum," said the monthly OECD report which looks at composite leading indicators.

In Italy, those indicators include measures of consumer confidence, production, manufacturing orders, inflation and imports. The eurozone as a whole also shared in this "positive change in momentum" while other major economies, including the United States, Canada, France, Germany and Britain were assessed as showing "stable growth momentum". 

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