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Italy business confidence at four-year low in February

Staff Writer | February 28, 2019
The National Institute of Statistics (Istat)’s composite business confidence indicator (Clima di Fiducia delle Imprese Italiane, IESE)—which covers the manufacturing, construction, market services and retail sectors—fell to 98.3 points in February from January’s revised 99.1 points (previously reported: 99.2 points), marking the worst reading since February 2015.
Italy manufacturing
Europe   February’s reading was the result of deteriorating sentiment
February’s reading was the result of deteriorating sentiment in the manufacturing, construction and market services sectors, which more than offset improved sentiment in the retail trade sector.

Confidence in the manufacturing sector deteriorated on less favorable production expectations, while confidence in the construction sector lost ground due to a deterioration in employment expectations.

Meanwhile, confidence in the market services sector fell as well, as both assessments of current order books and expectations on future order books worsened.

On the other hand, confidence in the retail sales sector strengthened, supported by better assessments of current sales and improved expectations on future sales.

FocusEconomics panelists expect fixed investment to increase 2.7% in 2019, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast.

For 2020, panelists see fixed investment growing 2.0%.

The consumer confidence index released by the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) declined to 112.4 points in February from January’s revised 113.9 points (previously reported: 114.0 points), marking the worst result since August 2017.

Consumers’ assessments of the current general economic situation took a sharp dive, as did their expectations of the future general economic situation.

This was likely due to recently released data on Q4, which shows that GDP contracted for the second consecutive quarter, throwing the country into the third technical recession in a decade.

Additionally, consumers’ willingness to buy big-ticket items also plunged.

On the other hand, consumers’ expectations on their future personal economic situation improved somewhat, as did their outlook on unemployment.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect private consumption to expand 0.9% in 2019, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast.

For 2020, panelists see private consumption growing 0.8%.


 

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