Italy Manufacturing, Consumer Trust Fall on Stagnant Economy

  • Manufacturing gauge falls to the lowest since early 2015
  • Italy grappling with fallout from earthquake last week

Italian manufacturing confidence in August fell to the lowest since early last year, as Prime Minister Matteo Renzi struggles with a stagnant economy compounded by the massive destruction from last week’s deadly earthquake. Consumer confidence also fell.

The business manufacturing gauge dropped to 101.1 in August, the lowest since Feb. 2015, from 102.9 the previous month. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 102.5. Confidence among households plunged to 109.2, the lowest in more than a year, from 111.2 the month before, statistics agency Istat said Monday in Rome.

The earthquake that killed at least 290 people in central Italy hit as the premier already faces criticism for Italy’s economic stagnation in the second quarter, and rising public debt as he faces a referendum in the fall that could decide his political future. His response may be crucial to his levels of public support. A survey last month by the IPR Marketing Institute showed 52 percent of respondents opposed Renzi’s proposed reform, with 48 percent in favor.

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