Italian Business Confidence Unexpectedly Rose in August

Italian business confidence unexpectedly rebounded this month even amid signs the economic slump will deepen.

The manufacturing-sentiment index rose to 87.2 from 87.1 in July, Rome-based national statistics institute Istat said today. Economists had predicted a reading of 86.8, according to the median of 12 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

Italy’s economy contracted for a fourth straight quarter in the three months through June as Prime Minister Mario Monti’s policies contributed to deepening the fourth recession since 2001. Concerns the economic slump will worsen prompted Fiat SpA (F) to temporarily stop new investments in Italy. Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne has vowed to close a second Italian factory after shuttering one last year, unless he finds a way to export cars to the U.S.

The mood among executives doesn’t mirror consumers’ pessimism as Italy’s government implements spending cuts and tax increases to shield the country from Europe’s debt crisis. Household confidence declined to 86 in August from 86.5 in the previous month as the outlook for personal finances worsened.

To contact the reporters on this story: Chiara Vasarri in Rome at cvasarri@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net

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