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ECONOMY

Italy’s exports surge on back of non-EU demand

Italian exports were up by 9.2 percent in March compared to the same month in 2014, mostly driven by demand from outside the EU, the national statistics agency, Istat, said on Monday.

Italy's exports surge on back of non-EU demand
Italian exports were up 9.2 percent in March compared to the same month in 2014. Italy exports: Shutterstock

Exports within the EU rose by 6.1 percent, and 13.2 percent to non-EU countries.

Exports were also 1.8 percent higher in March than in February, while the figure rose by 1.2 percent during the quarter compared to the same period last year.

Imports were also up, rising 9.7 percent in March compared to the same month in 2014, and by 4.0 percent since February.

Exports are the driving force behind Italy’s long-awaited return to growth.

The country’s economy grew by 0.3 percent in the first quarter of this year – the fastest pace since the second quarter of 2011, Istat said last week.

The return to growth comes after nine months of recession and zero growth in the last quarter of 2014.

The European Commission has forecast growth at 0.6 percent this year, rising to 1.6 percent in 2016. 

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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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