Italy slips in EU wealth measure

Julian Harris
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ITALIANS are now poorer than average across the EU, according to statistics released yesterday in Brussels.

Per capita GDP, measured against an EU average of 100 points, dropped to a score of 98 in Italy last year as the recession continued to bite.

The Eurozone’s third largest economy shrank by over two per cent in 2012 as it was hit by the debt crisis, and it has now endured seven straight quarters of decline. Nearby Spain also has below average GDP per capita, with an index score of 97.

The gap in wealth between people in different EU countries remains stark, yesterday’s figures showed. At the top, Luxembourg is an outlier with 271 points. But even excluding the small landlocked state, there remains a considerable gap between Austria (on 131 points) and Bulgaria (on 47 points). Bulgaria has moved up from 44 points in 2010, however, while states such as Latvia (54 points to 62 points) and Estonia (63 points to 68 points) have narrowed the gap over the same two year period.

The UK’s index score has remained relatively unchanged in recent years.

• More bad news emerged for the euro area yesterday, with production in its construction sector falling 6.6 per cent in April compared to a year earlier. An Ernst & Young forecast this morning will predict a 0.6 per cent contraction in the Eurozone economy in 2013, deeper than had been expected.