Italian industrial output rose more than forecast in December for the first time in four months.
Output increased 0.4 percent from November, when it dropped a revised 1.1 percent and fell 2.2 percent in the three months through December, national statistics office Istat said in Rome today. Economists forecast a monthly rise of 0.3 percent, according to the median of 18 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.
Italy is mired in its fourth recession since 2001 as Prime Minister Mario Monti’s efforts to contain the budget deficit curbed domestic demand. Unemployment was at the highest in more than 13 years in December and consumer confidence fell in January to the lowest level since at least 1996. Both the government and the central bank expect a return to economic growth in the second half of 2013 as export gain.
On Jan. 28, business lobby Confindustria forecast that the country’s gross domestic product declined “at least 0.6 percent” in the final three months of 2012. Istat will release its preliminary report on fourth quarter gross domestic product on Feb. 14.
The monthly increase in industrial output was led by gains in production of chemical products and transport vehicles, today’s report showed. Output fell an annual 6.6 percent on a workday-adjusted basis, Istat said.