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TRADE

Italy’s inflation steadies as trade surplus widens

Italy's inflation rate remained steady in July, Italy's national statistics institute (Istat) said on Friday, while the country's trade surplus widened in June from the same month a year earlier.

Italy's inflation steadies as trade surplus widens
Italy's inflation rate remained steady in July. Photo: Flickr

In good news for the eurozone's third largest economy, the annual inflation rate held steady in July at 1.2 percent, Istat said, revising up its preliminary estimate of 1.1 percent.

Prices were up 0.1 percent compared to June, the institute said. On a 12-month comparison, consumer goods were up 2.0 percent from July 2012.

In separate data, Istat said the country's foreign trade surplus widened in June to €3.6 billion from €2.8 billion in June 2012.

On a monthly basis, exports were up 1.2 percent in June from May, while imports increased 1.6 percent.

Recent indicators suggest the recession in Italy – the longest in the post-war period – is finally easing.

This week Istat said the economy shrank by less than feared in the second quarter of 2013.

The economy remains at risk, however, from the volatile political situation following ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's definitive conviction for tax fraud.

The furious reaction from Berlusconi and his People of Freedom party (PDL) to the ruling has raised concerns for the stability of Letta's grand coalition government and the country's economic recovery.

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MONEY

Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Italy's government will extend its proposed one-time €200 benefit to more people and introduce a €60 public transport payment, Italian media reported on Thursday.

Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Seasonal workers, domestic and cleaning staff, the self-employed, the unemployed and those on Italy’s ‘citizens’ income’ will be added to the categories of people in Italy eligible for a one-off €200 payment, ministers reportedly announced on Thursday evening.

The one-time bonus, announced earlier this week as part of a package of financial measures designed to offset the rising cost of living, was initially set to be for pensioners and workers on an income of less than €35,000 only.

However the government has now agreed to extend the payment to the additional groups following pressure from Italy’s labour, families, and regional affairs ministers and representatives of the Five Star Movement, according to news agency Ansa.

Pensioners and employees will reportedly receive the €200 benefit between June and July via a direct payment into their pension slip or pay packet.

For other groups, a special fund will be created at the Labour Ministry and the procedures for claiming and distributing payments detailed in an incoming decree, according to the Corriere della Sera news daily.

One new measure introduced at the cabinet meeting on Thursday is the introduction of a one-time €60 public transport bonus for students and workers earning below €35,000. The bonus is reportedly designed to encourage greater use of public transport and will take the form of an e-voucher that can be used when purchasing a bus, train or metro season pass.

Other provisions reportedly proposed in the energy and investment decree (decreto energia e investimenti), which is still being adjusted and amended, include extending energy bill discounts, cutting petrol excise duty and rolling on the deadline to claim Italy’s popular ‘superbonus 110’.

The €14 billion aid package, intended to lessen the economic impact of the war in Ukraine, will “fight the higher cost of living” and is “a temporary situation”, Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said.

The Local will report further details of the payment scheme once they become available following final approval of the decree.

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