Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Wednesday that the economy probably contracted in the fourth quarter, which if true would plunge the country into a recession. The gross domestic product (GDP) data for the fourth quarter of 2018 is
set to be released Thursday by the ISTAT national statistics office. “I expect a further contraction of gross domestic product,” Conte said at a business conference in Milan. It would make it the second consecutive quarter of falling GDP — after a drop of 0.1 percent in the third quarter — and would tip Italy into recession.
“Analysts tell us we’ll likely still suffer a bit at the start of this
year,” he said, pointing the finger at a slowdown in China and Germany which
are hurting Italian exports.
“But all the elements are there to recover in the second half,” he said.
A recession is likely to put pressure on the spending plans of Italy’s
The coalition of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and the
far-right League party was forced to water down its big-spending budget in
December to avoid being punished by the European Commission and financial
A slowdown will make it even harder to follow through on expensive vote-
winning measures both parties promised their bases.