Martedì, 18 Settembre 2018
ROME

Italy's housing market, industrial production slump

English
© ANSA

(By Paul Virgo)
Rome, May 14 - The extent of the challenge facing
Premier Enrico Letta's left-right government was shown by an
array of alarming economic data released on Tuesday.
The figures showed that recession-hit Italy's housing
market and industrial sector are in crisis, while the nation's
public debt hit a new record high of over two trillion euros.
Italy's housing market slumped to its lowest level since
1985 last year, according to a report by the country's inland
revenue agency and banking association ABI.
It said that 448,364 properties were sold in 2012, over
150,000 fewer (27.5%) than in 2011.
It was the property market's worse annual performance since
1985, when 430,000 homes were sold.
A weak property market is a problem as demand for new
houses is the driver of one of the cornerstones of the economy -
the construction sector.
Industrial production, meanwhile, fell 5.2% in March
compared to the same month in 2012, Eurostat said.
The European Union's statistics office said this was the
worst showing of the continent's big economies.
Year-on-year industrial production was down 1.5% in Germany
and 1.6% in France in March.
ABI also said Tuesday that bank loans to Italian households
and non-financial companies dropped 3.1% in April with respect
to the same month in 2012, falling to 1.458 billion euros.
Overall bank loans, including lending to financial
companies and the public sector, decreased by 2.12% to 1.907
billion in April
These falls are worrying as attempts to pull the Italian
economy out of its longest recession in 20 years will be
hampered if households and businesses have trouble obtaining
credit.
Meanwhile, the Bank of Italy reminded Letta, who was sworn
in at the helm of a fragile coalition government in April to end
a two-month post-election deadlock, of the headaches he faces
with the public finances.
It said Italy's huge public debt reached 2.034725 trillion
euros in March, beating the previous all-time record of 2.0227
trillion in January. The debt dropped to 2.0176 trillion in
February.
The debt, the main reason Italy has been exposed to the
eurozone crisis, has risen to around 130% of gross domestic
product despite government cost-cutting and tax hikes.
The central bank said that tax revenues rose 0.79% in the
first quarter of 2013, compared to the same period last year, to
reach 83.829 billion euros.
Istat said Tuesday that Italy's inflation rate fell to 1.1%
in April, the lowest level since December 2009, as the recession
dampens pressure on prices.
The inflation figure was lower than the preliminary
forecast of 1.2% that the national statistics agency gave late
last month.
The fall in April with respect to the 1.6% inflation rate
of March was caused primarily by drops in energy prices.
Istat said last month that 11.5% of the working population,
2.95 million, were unemployed in March, adding that 38.4% of
15-to-24-year-olds were jobless.

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