Morale amongst Italian businesses and consumers rose in June, data showed on Friday, as the country recovered from the worst phase of its coronavirus epidemic and the government pumped money into the economy.
National statistics institute ISTAT’s manufacturing confidence index increased to 79.8 in June from 71.5 in May, still far below its long-term average as the economy continues to struggle due to the coronavirus.
ISTAT, which did not conduct its survey in April because of technical difficulties connected to a government lockdown, said June showed “the first signs of recovery after the record fall registered in previous months.”
June’s manufacturing confidence index was marginally below a median forecast of 80.0 in a Reuters survey of 10 analysts.
ISTAT’s composite business morale index, combining surveys of the manufacturing, retail, construction and services sectors, came in at 65.4 in June, compared with May’s multi-year low of 52.7.
Consumer confidence rose more than expected this month to 100.6 from 94.3 in May, beating a median forecast of 97.5 in Reuters’ poll.
More than 34,000 people have died of the coronavirus in Italy since its outbreak emerged on Feb. 21, the fourth largest toll in the world after those of the United States, Brazil and Britain.
The euro zone’s third largest economy shrank 5.3% in the first quarter from the previous three months, the steepest decline since since the current series began in 1995.
Italy’s official forecast is for a full-year drop in gross domestic product of 8% this year, but most think-tanks expect a steeper contraction and Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri has said the government’s estimate will probably have to be revised lower.