Italian industry wilting as long recession bites

INDUSTRIAL output in Italy fell by 4.6 per cent this April, even more than expected by downbeat analysts, as the country remains mired in a seventh successive quarter of recession.

Markets had expected a smaller decline of 3.6 per cent, after a 5.3 per cent drop between April 2011 and April 2012. Production declined by 0.3 per cent from March.

In total, industrial production in the country has declined by 11 per cent since 2010, with demand suffering in many Mediterranean countries.

The Italian government announced the figures yesterday at the same time as a downward revision to GDP figures for the first three months of this year.

The state statistical service originally announced a 0.5 per cent contraction, which was larger than expected.

However, GDP shrank at a faster pace than initially thought, as a fall of 0.6 per cent was confirmed.

There was better news for French industry in April, where production rose by 2.2 per cent on the month, after a 0.6 per cent contraction the previous month.

Despite this rare positive news, the French economy is also now in recession, and is struggling back from particularly poor industrial figures for the end of 2012.