Italy enjoys best growth in annual economy since 2011

Italy posted its best annual economic growth figures since 2011 on Wednesday, its gross domestic product outdoing forecasts to grow year on year by 1.5 percent cent.

In the first six months of 2017, growth was 1.2 percent, according to the national institute of statistics (ISTAT).

Quarterly growth held steady at 0.4 percent in the three months to June, leaving Italy still below the eurozone average of 0.6 percent in the quarter.

“Growth better than forecast. A good base from which to boost the economy and employment,” Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said on Twitter.

The Italian government had forecast a 1.1 percent increase in GDP this year, while the European Commission had expected it to increase by 0.9 percent and the International

Monetary Fund had tipped a 0.8 percent rise.

Italy shrugged off years of recession in 2014 but growth was very weak at just 0.1 percent. Its economy expanded by 0.8 percent in 2015 and 0.9 percent in 2016, half the average growth rate in the eurozone.

Analysts had warned growth momentum could be affected this year by the political landscape, as the country heads towards a general election early next year, as well as a fragile banking system.

But the country has been helped by a recovery in the single currency area and a rise in industrial production at home, while concerns over the banking system have receded. Source: AFP