Italy Manufacturing Confidence Rose to Highest Since January

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  • Consumer confidence, economic sentiment also rose in July
  • Italy is recovering from longest recession since World War II

Italian manufacturing confidence and consumer sentiment rose this month, as the country slowly recovers from its longest recession since World War II.

The manufacturing gauge rose to 103.1, above economists’ estimates, from a revised 102.9 in June, national statistics agency Istat said Wednesday in Rome. This month’s reading is the highest since January, when it was also 103.1. Consumer confidence rose to 111.3 in July from 110.2 the month before.

The International Monetary Fund said this month the Italian economy will expand 0.9 percent this year and 1 percent in 2017. Still, the country is grappling with increasing investor concerns that a mountain of banks’ bad loans may damage the nation’s financial system, while a make-or-break referendum on political reform is expected in October or November.

“The economy slowed in the second quarter, in line with the rest of the euro zone,” Claus Vistesen, chief euro-area economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics Ltd. based in Newcastle, said before the data were released. He said the banking difficulties and the autumn referendum pose “downside risks” for Italy.

The FTSE MIB stock index in Milan rose 0.8 percent to 16,835.19 at 10:41, after the confidence data were released.