Italian Economy Shrinks 2.0 in Q4 2020

Italys economy shrank by 2.0 in the fourth quarter of last year from the previous three months, preliminary data showed on Tuesday, a slightly smaller slump than expected after a rebound in the third quarter.

On a yearonyear basis, fourth quarter gross domestic product in the euro zones third largest economy was down 6.6, national statistics bureau ISTAT said.

A Reuters survey of 24 analysts had forecast a 2.2 quarterly fall, down 6.7 from the year earlier.

The Italian economy plunged in the first half of last year due to government lockdowns to try to rein in the coronavirus.

It rebounded by 16 in the third quarter when restrictions were relaxed, before shrinking again at the end of the year as the epidemic gathered strength, forcing new curbs on businesses and freedom of movement.

ISTAT marginally revised its third quarter data to show a 16.0 quarteronquarter rise and a 5.1 yearonyear fall, previously reported as 15.9 and 5.0.

Over the whole year, GDP shrank by 8.8, according to ISTATs preliminary estimate, not adjusted by the number of days worked.

That was the steepest annual GDP drop for Italy since World War II but it was a slightly smaller contraction that the 9 forecast by the Italian government.

The institute will issue definitive fullyear data on March 1.

Looking ahead, Rome officially forecasts a rebound of 6 this year, although Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri has warned this will probably have to be revised down as COVID19 continues to blight…

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