Italian business confidence falls

February 28th, 2012 - 3:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Rome, Feb 28 (IANS/AKI) Italian business confidence fell in February as the euro zone’s third-largest economy was mired in recession.

The manufacturing-sentiment index fell to 91.5 from 92.1 in January, national statistics agency Istat said.

Confidence in the economy has faltered as an emergency government implements tax hikes, pension reforms and a war on endemic tax evasion to balance the budget and lower Italy’s 1.9 trillion euros in debt.

Prime minister Mario Monti and a team of non-elected technocrats took over the government in November after the cost of borrowing was rising to unsustainable levels, creating concern that Italy would default and sink the euro currency with it.

Monti has bowed to calls for reduced national spending, while critics say just the opposite is needed to put money in consumers’ pockets and boost the economy.

The International Monetary Fund forecasts the economy will shrink 2.2 percent this year.

–IANS/AKI
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