Italian Industrial Output Fell in July as Recession Deepened

Italian industrial output fell in July as the recession in the euro region’s third-biggest economy deepened.

Production contracted 0.2 percent from June, when it dropped a revised 1.3 percent, national statistics office Istat said in Rome today. Economists forecast a decline of 0.4 percent, according to the median of 13 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Production fell 7.3 percent from a year earlier on a workday-adjusted basis, the 11th annual decline.

Italy’s gross domestic product contracted more than initially reported in the second quarter, amid the biggest decline in household spending in almost two decades, Istat said on Sept. 10. Prime Minister Mario Monti said yesterday he’s conscious that his tax increases and budget cuts to defend against debt-crisis fallout have exacerbated the country’s fourth recession since 2001.

Monti’s austerity drive, which included reinstating a tax on primary residences and higher levies on gasoline, eroded consumers’ disposable income and sapped corporate investments. In the three months through June household spending decreased 3.6 percent from a year earlier, the biggest drop on annual basis since 1993, the statistic institute said this week.

The recession has also heightened tensions between employers and workers as firms including Fiat SpA (F) and Alcoa Inc. scale back activity in the country. Monti met yesterday with labor leaders, one day after Italy’s biggest union CGIL said it may call soon a general strike.

Istat had originally reported a 1.4 percent drop in June industrial production.

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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