Italian economy minister explains government optimism
Saccomanni offers reasons Istat and govt predictions differ04 November, 14:22
Istat said Monday that it expected Italy to pull out of its longest recession in over two decades by the end of the year and post positive growth of 0.7% in 2014.
The agency forecast that Italy's gross domestic product for 2013 will be 1.8% down on last year, confirming data it presented to parliament last week. The government's latest GDP forecasts were for negative growth of 1.7% this year and positive growth of 1% in 2014.
"We have slightly different opinions," said Saccomanni, speaking in London where he met with British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.
Saccomanni said the difference was probably due to the fact that the ministry's calculations take into account structural reforms foreseen in the current budget bill and public administration payments that Istat perhaps had not accounted for.
The Italian government is in the process of finalizing a budget for 2014 and in July pledged to pay an additional 20 to 25 billion euros to overdue bills owed by the public sector to private businesses starting January 1, 2014, in addition to some 40 billion euros already allocated to settle languishing supplier invoices.
Italian Labour Minister Enrico Giovannini on Monday downplayed the differences in government and Istat figures, saying, "If confidence grows, economic growth will reach 1% (according to Istat), the amount predicted by the government".
If instead the international economic scenario sours, however, Istat predicted slower growth for Italy of 0.4%-0.7%.