That’s slightly more than the 0.7 percent forecast by the agency in a preliminary statement in February, but less than the optimistic 0.9 percent envisaged by the government last September.
According to its provisional estimates, Istat said the country’s deficit-to-GDP was 2.6 percent in 2015, down from three percent in 2014.
Italy’s perennially listless economy is regularly scrutinized, but Prime Minister Matteo Renzi took to Facebook to dismiss the chatter of doomsayers as “pointless”, while making the jubilant announcement that “Italy is back”.
And it’s the numbers that prove it, he wrote, while citing decreasing taxes and more people in jobs.
“We are not leaving it in the hands of catastrophists who enjoy it when things go wrong,” he wrote.
Renzi trumpeted his government’s achievements over the past two years, including the so-called Jobs Act, especially when compared to his predecessors.
“At the beginning of 2015 we forecast growth at 0.7 percent, instead we got 0.8 percent. The [Mario] Monti government closed at -2.3 percent, and the [Enrico] Letta government closed at -1.9 percent.
“The deficit fell for the first time in years to less than three percent: we reached 2.6 percent in 2015, the best result in a decade. And in 2016 it will go down further.”