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Financial News: Bank Of Italy Raises Growth Forecasts

Bank Of Italy Raises Growth Forecasts

06/09/2017 - 07:43:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The Italian economy is set to sustain its growth momentum that is forecast to improve over the next two years, helped by a moderate strengthening of foreign demand and the ultra-easy monetary conditions, the Bank of Italy said in its bi-annual economic outlook released on Friday.

The growth forecast for this year was raised to 1 percent from 0.9 percent. The projections for both next year and 2019 was increased to 1.2 percent from 1.1 percent.

The projections were prepared by staff members of the Bank of Italy and included in the Eurosystem staff macroeconomic projection exercise.

The bank said it will update these projections in its July Economic Bulletin to reflect the statistical agency ISTAT's upward revision of GDP growth for the last two quarters that was published on June 1.

The agency had revised the first quarter growth to 0.4 percent from 0.2 percent. The economy expanded 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Inflation was projected to be 1.4 percent this year, which was earlier seen at 1.3 percent, after a -0.1 percent rate in 2016. The outlook for next year was trimmed to 1.1 percent from 1.3 percent. The forecast for 2019 was raised to 1.6 percent from 1.5 percent.

This pattern is mainly attributable to changes in energy prices and, for 2019, the improvement in cyclical conditions, the bank said.

Core inflation, which excludes energy and food, was seen at 0.9 percent this year after 0.5 percent in 2016. Underlying inflation was earlier projected at 0.8 percent this year.

The forecast for next year was sharply cut to 0.9 percent from 1.4 percent, while the projection for 2019 was retained at 1.6 percent.

The bank said core inflation will rise more gradually, owing among other things to very modest wage growth in the private sector.

The unemployment rate was forecast to ease only slightly this year to 11.6 percent from 11.7 percent in 2016. The figure is seen falling to 11.3 percent next year. The forecast for 2019 was raised to 11 percent from 10.9 percent.

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