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Italian Economy Contracts 0.2 Percent, Signaling New Recession

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- The Italian economy contracted in the third quarter, signaling the country may have entered its fifth recession since 2001 as the government adopts new austerity measures that will further weigh on growth.

Gross domestic product dropped 0.2 percent from the second quarter, when it grew 0.3 percent, Rome-based national statistics institute Istat said in its final GDP report today. It was the first contraction since the final three months of 2009 and matched the median forecast for a 0.2 percent contraction in a survey of 23 economists by Bloomberg News. The economy expanded 0.2 percent from a year earlier, Istat said.

Consumer spending declined 0.2 percent from the second quarter, with investment declining 0.6 percent. Exports grew 1.6 percent in the quarter, while imports fell 1.1 percent.

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at acullen8@bloomberg.net; Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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