Italian Consumer Confidence Falls in Setback for Renzi’s Plans

  • Manufacturing sentiment rose this month to highest since July
  • Dec. 4 constitutional reform referendum key for PM Renzi

Italian consumer confidence dropped this month to the lowest since July 2015, in a setback for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s plans to spur economic growth.

The household gauge in October dropped to 108 from a revised 108.6 the month before, statistics agency Istat said Thursday in Rome. The median estimate of 11 analysts in a Bloomberg survey called for 108.6. Manufacturing confidence gained to 103 from 102.1 in September.

Renzi is betting that a Dec. 4 referendum on political reform will give him the backing needed to push through his economic agenda. The ballot has turned into a test of the 41-year-old premier’s popular backing, with opinion polls giving a slight edge to a “No” vote against his reform plans.

The latest figure for Italy’s economic growth, which stalled in the three months through June, will be released Nov. 15. The preliminary number for the third quarter could have an impact on voter sentiment with the referendum less than three weeks afterward.

Italians who are satisfied with their personal economic situation total 51 percent, down from 55 percent in 2015, savings-bank association ACRI said in a survey released Wednesday. Fifty-four percent of Italians don’t have “confidence” or have “little confidence” in the European Union, according to the survey conducted late last month and early this month.

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