Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

With Elections in Sight, Italian Consumers Grow Optimistic

Updated on
  • Households’ morale up in December, reaches 2-year high
  • Business confidence little changed, growth estimates upgraded

Italian consumer confidence rose to the highest in almost two years, as campaigning heats up for elections early next year.

Household sentiment increased to 116.6 in December from a revised 114.4 the month before, statistics agency Istat said Friday in Rome. The median in a survey of 13 analysts called for this month’s household gauge to be 114.6.

Manufacturing confidence was little changed this month, dipping to 110.5 from 110.7 in November. The median in a survey of 15 analysts called for this month’s gauge to be 111.0.

Italy will hold national elections early next year, and most predictions see them in the first half of March. The campaigning for votes is already well under way, with the country’s economic progress sure to play a central role.

Industrial output in the euro region’s third-biggest economy expanded in October, signaling that the recovery is gaining strength, Istat said earlier this month. The data bolstered executives’ views that growth will maintain its pace in 2018, as highlighted in a Dec. 13 report released by Italy’s main business lobby Confindustria.

The country’s unemployment rate was unchanged in October at 11.1 percent with youth joblessness slightly declining to 34.7 percent from 35.4 percent in the previous month.

The Italian economy has expanded for 13 straight quarters, rebounding from the longest recession since World War II.

This month’s consumer confidence is the highest since January 2016.

— With assistance by Andre Tartar, and Giovanni Salzano

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