IMF increases its growth forecast for Italy

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday increased its 2017 growth forecast for Italy to 1.3 percent from the previously more modest 0.8 percent.

The Italian government itself has cautiously forecast growth of 1.1 percent in 2017 and 1 percent next year. Italy's economic growth remains one of the weakest in the European Union, according to the IMF.

The IMF called on Italy to accelerate the process of cleaning up the banking sector, weighed down by dodgy debt made up of loans which risk never being paid back.

Italy is currently being run by caretaker Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and the uncertainty over what comes next is seen as dampening an economy saddled with unemployment over 11.5 percent of the workforce.

While the made-in-Italy brand is as strong as ever in fashion-related luxury and food and drink, in other sectors the country is suffering from declining competitiveness while international rivals forge ahead on that front.

A snail-paced legal system and mountains of red tape are also long-established complaints of the Italian business community.
Agence France-Presse


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