Italy Aims to Cut Its Debt by 20% by 2018, Grilli Tells Corriere

Italy plans to sell public assets valued at as much as 20 billion euros ($24.5 billion) annually in order to cut its debt by one sixth within five years, Finance Minister Vittorio Grilli told Corriere della Sera in an interview published today.

Under the plan, the government would sell assets each year worth as much as 1 percent of gross domestic product, Grilli told the Milan-based newspaper. That and annual growth of 1 percent would enable Italy to reduce the public debt “by 20 percent within five years,” Corriere cited the minister as saying.

Grilli also said that the Italian economy will contract less than 2 percent this year, Corriere reported. That compares with a 1.2 percent GDP contraction forecast by the government on April 18.

Italy’s public debt rose to 120.1 percent of GDP in 2011 and is projected to reach 123.4 percent this year, the government said in April.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lorenzo Totaro in Rome at ltotaro@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net;

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