ITALIAN officials upgraded the country’s growth forecast on the weekend as they expect a significant boost from the European Central Bank’s (ECB) bond-buying programme.
The Italian central bank forecasts the economy to grow by more than 0.5 per cent this year and at least 1.5 per cent in 2016, the central bank’s governor Ignazio Visco said. Only one month ago, the Bank of Italy had expected 0.4 per cent growth this year followed by 1.2 per cent growth in 2016.
The ECB launches a Eurozone-wide bond buying programme in March that will see €60bn (£45bn) of bonds bought per month until September 2016 or until inflation has gotten nearer to its target of two per cent.
Visco said €130bn worth of Italian government bonds would be bought.
Italy’s economy failed to register any economic growth last year and has failed to grow since 2011.
However, the European Commission joins the Italian central bank in its optimism, forecasting Italian growth of 0.6 per cent this year. Visco also said that the bond buying programme would not make unpopular reforms less likely.