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Country Report Italy October 2017

Country Report Italy October 2017

  • October 2017
  • ID: 325859
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit

Summary

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Outlook for 2018-22



  • 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.
  • Under a strongly proportional electoral system none of the three main blocs-the centre left led by the Partito Democratico (PD), the centre right and the anti-establishment Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)-is likely to win a majority of seats.
  • Given M5S's hardline stance towards the established parties, and these parties' concerns about M5S's policies, we believe it is unlikely that M5S would succeed in forming a coalition to form a government.
  • We expect the established parties to join forces to keep M5S out of government, leading to the formation of a coalition centred around the PD led by Matteo Renzi and Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right party, Forza Italia (FI).
  • 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 2.7% of GDP in 2022.
  • We expect the economy to expand by 1.4% in 2017 and an average of 1% per year in 2018-22, 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% in 2017-22, reflecting moderately higher global energy prices and steady domestic demand growth.


Review



  • The government has agreed to tie voting in parliament on the PD's new proposal to reform the electoral laws to a technical vote of confidence.
  • The new system, which has the backing of the PD, FI, Lega Nord and Alternativa Popolare, is predominantly proportional, with about a third of the seats allocated through single member districts.
  • The bill was approved by 375 votes in favour and 215 against in the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house of parliament). It must now be approved by the Senate (the upper house) to become law.
  • On September 23rd the cabinet approved its update of the 2017 Documento di Economia e Finanza (DEF) published in April. It envisages a less restrictive fiscal stance in 2018 than originally agreed with the European Commission.
  • Italian ten-year secondary market yields rose slightly in September to close the month at 2.11%, reflecting the impact of expectations of European Central Bank (ECB) tapering and the Catalan crisis.
  • Calendar-adjusted industrial production (excluding construction) rose by 5.7% year on year in August and by 2.9% in the first eight months of 2017.


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