Italian Industrial Output Unexpectedly Falls for Third Month

Italian industrial output unexpectedly declined in April, signaling the recession in Europe’s fourth-biggest economy probably extended into its eighth quarter.

Production dropped 0.3 percent from March, when it fell a revised 0.9 percent, national statistics office Istat said in Rome today. Economists forecast output to be unchanged, according to the median of 16 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

Italy’s gross domestic product will contract 1.8 percent this year before rising 0.4 percent in 2014, the Paris-based OECD said on May 29, after revising down its GDP forecast for a second time in a month. The recession the nation entered in the fourth quarter of 2011 “is deeply undercutting potential output and threatens to erode social cohesion,” Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco said on May 31.

Prime Minister Enrico Letta committed to cut labor taxes and boost youth employment to stem the rise in joblessness and a slump in domestic demand. Unemployment rose in April to a 36-year high, Istat said in a preliminary report last month.

Shifting Production

Indesit Co. SpA, the Italian maker of ovens and fridges, will cut 1,400 employees, or a third of its workforce, as it reorganizes its Italian production and shifts part of output to Poland and Turkey, the Fabriano-based company said in a June 4 statement.

Italian industrial production is down 25 percent from its peak in 2007, before the first of two recessions hit, business lobby Confindustria said in a report last week.

Still, Italian business confidence rose in May more than economists expected as executives turned optimistic about the outlook for production, Istat said on May 29.

In April, output fell an annual 4.6 percent on a workday-adjusted basis, Istat said. The statistics agency originally reported a 0.8 percent decline in production for March.

-- With assistance from Giovanni Salzano in Rome. Editor: Andrew Davis, Eddie Buckle

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