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Italy's growth won't match the pace in Greece, says IMF

European, global economies still fragile, agency warns

08 April, 16:41
Italy's growth won't match the pace in Greece, says IMF (ANSA) - Rome, April 8 - Italy's economy will grow by 0.6% this year and 1.1% in 2015 but its pace of recovery will still be weaker than that of Greece, one of the worst-hit countries during the global economic crisis, according to a new report Tuesday by the International Monetary Fund.

In its latest World Economic Outlook, the IMF said that after falling by 1.9% in 2013, Italian gross domestic product (GDP) will make a gradual recovery this year and next, reiterating its growth outlook made in its January outlook.

It also forecast an easing of Italy's unemployment rate, which is a significant factor in consumer confidence and household spending, to as low as 12.4% this year and 11.9% in 2015.

That came only a week after the national statistical agency revealed that unemployment in Italy in February hit 13%, its highest rate in 37 years.

For Italy, the contrast with Greece is harsh, given that that country has become almost synonymous with economic crisis after it endured a dramatic economic meltdown and was bailed out by the IMF.

Tuesday's IMF forecast said that while Italy and Greece will show similar rates of GDP growth this year, in 2015 Italy's forecast rate of 1.1% will be far outpaced by Greece's expected rate of 2.9%.

However, by other measures the outlook for Italy is much brighter: the jobless rate in Greece is forecast by the IMF to reach 26.3% this year before slipping to 24.4% - double the Italian forecasts.