Italian Business Confidence Rises More Than Expected This

Italian business confidence rose this month more than economists forecast as executives became more optimistic about a recovery from the country’s recession.

The manufacturing-sentiment index advanced to 88.3 from a revised 87.3 in August, Rome-based national statistics institute Istat said today. Economists had predicted a reading of 87.5, according to the median of 12 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

Italy’s gross domestic product shrank for the fourth straight quarter in the three months ended June 30 as Prime Minister Mario Monti raised taxes and the European sovereign debt crisis curbed financing. Fulvio Conti, chief executive officer of Enel SpA (ENEL), Italy’s biggest energy producer, said yesterday he is counting on an economic recovery next year.

“I hope there will be a rebound, and I’m working for this rebound to happen as everyone is,” Conti told reporters in Rome. “This decline should ease with a possible continuation of the recession through the first six months, but with a rebound that we expect in the second half of the year.”

Monti’s government increased its budget-deficit forecast last week after underestimating the severity of the recession. Government spending will probably exceed revenue by 2.6 percent of gross domestic product this year, Monti’s office said. That compares with the government’s April forecast of 1.7 percent.

Italian industrial output fell 0.2 percent in July from the previous month and 7.3 from a year earlier, Istat said on Sept. 12. Consumer confidence remained near its lowest level in more than 15 years, Istat said Sept. 25.

Istat originally reported an 87.2 reading for confidence in August.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Frye in Rome at afrye@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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