• Manufacturing-sentiment gauge falls to five-month low
  • Executives' expectations on orders, production deteriorated

Italian business confidence fell for a third straight month and more than economists estimated as executives remain cautious about the country’s ability to maintain a recovery in 2016, after it emerged from the longest recession on record last year.

The manufacturing-sentiment index declined in January to 103.2 from a revised 104 last month, the Rome-based national statistics agency Istat said on Wednesday. Economists predicted 103.8, according to the median of 11 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

Italian businesses grew pessimistic about the outlook for the euro region’s third-biggest economy after gross domestic product expanded in the first three quarters of 2015 at a progressively slower pace. The country’s industrial output unexpectedly dropped in November, prompting concerns the recovery may be running out of steam. Industrial sales fell 1.1 percent in the same month, Istat said on Monday.

Executives’ assessment of the outlook for orders and production worsened this month, Istat said in the confidence report on Wednesday.

Morale among Italy’s households improved, with the consumer confidence index rising to 118.9 from 117.7 in December, Istat said.

In Germany, the euro region’s largest economy, the Ifo institute’s business-climate index fell for a second month in January, with gauges for companies’ assessment of current conditions and expectations both deteriorating, according to a report published Monday.

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