Italy's economy experiencing best growth rates in six years

Italy's economy is experiencing the best growth rates in six years, according to official data released Wednesday.

On a quarterly basis, gross domestic product (GDP) has expanded by 0.4% in April-June, while year-on-year growth has reached 1.5%, national statistics institute Istat said.

The 1.5% figure is the highest growth rate registered since the first quarter of 2011, when the eurozone's third-largest economy expanded by 2.1%.

The uptick was driven by industry, services and internal demand, while agriculture and external demand dragged down growth, Istat said.

The data suggests that Italy's recovery is stronger than previously expected. Last month, the Bank of Italy had forecast growth of 1.4% for this year.

This is a relief for Rome's center-left government, giving it extra room for maneuver as it prepares budget plans for next year, and gets ready for general elections due in the first half of 2018.

A stronger economy would allow it to limit budget trimming efforts, a high priority since Italy is under EU pressure to contain its mammoth public debt, standing at more than 130% of GDP.

After the global financial crash of 2008, Italy experienced the worst economic slump since World War II. The economy started to recover gradually in 2014.

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