1. Market Research
Country Report Italy September 2017

Country Report Italy September 2017

  • September 2017
  • ID: 2557358
  • Format: PDF
  • By The Economist Intelligence Unit

Summary

Table of Contents

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Outlook for 2017-21



  • The government formed by Paolo Gentiloni of the centre-left Partito Democratico (PD) after the December 2016 referendum defeat is weak and vulnerable to party divisions and political manoeuvring.
  • Having been re-elected as leader of the PD in April 2017, Matteo Renzi, who was prime minister until the referendum, will seek to rebuild public support ahead of the next parliamentary election.
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit expects the next vote to take place at, or close to, the end of the current parliamentary term, in early 2018.
  • We expect the populist Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S) to emerge as the largest party at the next election. However, without a majority of seats it will be prevented from forming a government by a coalition of established parties.
  • We forecast that the fiscal deficit will narrow from 2.4% of GDP in 2016 to 2.1% of GDP in 2018, as bolder fiscal consolidation will be difficult before the next election. We expect the deficit to widen from 2019, to 2.5% of GDP in 2021.
  • We expect the economy to expand by 1.4% in 2017 and an average of 1% per year in 2018-21, driven mainly by domestic demand.
  • The current account will remain firmly in surplus, but we expect it to decline from 2.6% of GDP in 2016 to an average of 2.2% in 2017-21, reflecting moderately higher global energy prices and steady domestic demand growth.


Review



  • Reflecting deep tensions within the centre left, the PD and leftist parties are presenting separate candidates at the regional election in Sicily on November 5th. On the centre right, Forza Italia (FI), Lega Nord and Fratelli d'Italia have agreed on a joint candidate.
  • Second-quarter real GDP growth was confirmed at 1.5% year on year, unchanged from the flash estimate in August.
  • A breakdown of second-quarter real GDP by expenditure showed strong growth in gross fixed investment (2.6% year on year), exports of goods and services (4.7%) and imports (5.8%). Public and private consumption posted moderate annual growth of 0.9% and 1.2% respectively.
  • In July the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 11.3%, up by 0.2 percentage points compared with June, but down by 0.2 percentage points year on year. Total employment reached 23.1m-a post-2008 high.
  • According to the Bank of Italy (the central bank), the cumulative current-account surplus rose by 22% year on year to EUR17.5bn in January-June.


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