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Italy is officially in recession, debt climbs higher

GDP fell 0.7% in fourth quarter of 2011, 0.2% in third

15 February, 11:25
Italy is officially in recession, debt climbs higher (ANSA) - Rome, February 15 - Italy is officially in recession after national statistics agency ISTAT said on Wednesday that the economy registered negative growth for the second consecutive quarter in the last three months of 2011.

The Italian economy contracted 0.7% in the fourth quarter of last year compared to the previous three months, when it had posted negative growth of -0.2% with respect to the second quarter.

The October-to-November GDP figures were also 0.5% down in comparison to the same period in 2010.

ISTAT said growth for the whole of 2011 was estimated to come in at just 0.4%, compared to 1.4% in 2010, meaning it has the lowest growth level of the world's leading economies.

The Bank of Italy, meanwhile, said Italy's already massive public debt grew by 55 billion euros, 2.98%, last year to reach 1,897.946 billion euros in December, after it had peaked even higher in November at 1,904.8 billion euros.

There was also good economic news for Premier Mario Monti on Wednesday though, with the Bank of Italy saying that tax revenues increased by 1.6% in 2011 despite the downturn in the last half of the year.

They are expected to amount to 403.110 billion euros, it said.

photo: a protest by unemployed people.

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