Italian Consumer Confidence Remains Near Record Low on Recession

Italian consumer confidence remained near a record low this month as households are still pessimistic about the economic outlook amid the country’s fourth recession since 2001.

The confidence index rose to 85.7 percent from a revised 84.9 percent in November, the lowest since the series began in 1996, the national statistics office, Istat, said in Rome today. The reading was higher than the median forecast of 85.1 in a survey of 10 economists by Bloomberg News.

The Italian election campaign puts the EU’s budget policy up for review in the 27-country area’s fourth-largest economy. Prime Minister Mario Monti, who’s been trying for 13 months to tame a public debt of 2 trillion euros ($2.6 trillion), said Dec. 8 he will resign once the budget is passed by parliament. The Chamber of Deputies is due to hold the final vote on the budget law today.

Elections, which could be held on Feb. 24, come as the Italian economy shrank for a fifth quarter in the three months through September as export gains failed to offset the effects of weak domestic demand. The country’s jobless rate rose to the highest level in 13 years in October as employers remain reluctant to hire amid the deepening recession.

Both the government and the central bank expect a recovery in the second half of next year amid increasing exports.

Istat originally reported a November confidence reading of 84.8.

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

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

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