Italy's Production Rises More Than Expected, Boosting Outlook

  • Industrial output increases 0.7% in May from previous month
  • Business confidence up in June amid growth-acceleration hopes

Italian industrial production rebounded in May, signaling that economic growth for the rest of the year may equal or exceed the pace posted in the first quarter.

Production increased 0.7 percent from April, when it fell a revised 0.5 percent, statistics agency Istat said Tuesday in Rome. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 21 analysts called for a 0.5 percent rise. On an annual, workday adjusted basis, industrial output was up 2.8 percent in May.

An upward revision of gross-domestic-product in the first three months of 2017 fueled optimism that the euro region’s third-biggest economy is on the mend. Manufacturing confidence unexpectedly rose in June and consumers grew more optimistic, even though the most recent labor-market data shows a new increase in joblessness to 11.3 percent.

Istat’s leading indicator signals a “positive outlook for economic activity in the next months,” the statistics agency said in a separate report last week.

Last month, the International Monetary Fund raised its forecast for Italy’s 2017 economic growth to 1.3 percent from 0.8 percent. The Washington-based fund said it expects growth  “to moderate to around 1 percent in 2018–20.”

— With assistance by Andre Tartar, and Giovanni Salzano

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