Italy returns to growth, Greece does better

March 12, 2014 - 12:32:20 am
MILAN/Athens: Italy returned to growth in the fourth quarter last year after its longest post-war recession, official data from the Istat agency showed yesterday.

Meanwhile, the bailed-out Greek economy, struggling to emerge from deep recession, did better than estimated in the last quarter of last year.

Gross domestic product  in Italy expanded 0.1 percent during the last three months of the year compared to the previous quarter, the National Statistics Institute said, confirming preliminary figures issued in February.

On an annual basis, the eurozone’s third biggest economy contracted by 0.9 percent.

The institute, meanwhile, also revised its data for the third quarter of 2013, saying that the economy in fact contracted 0.1 percent rather than remaining flat.  This means that the country had recorded nine straight quarters of contraction before booking growth in the last three months of 2013. The Italian economy contracted by 1.8 percent in 2013 overall.

The ELSTAT statistics agency  in Greece said that output had shrunk by 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 on an annual comparison. That was markedly better than a flash estimate of 2.6-percent contraction announced in February.

Based on this data, the economy on average contracted by 3.85 percent in 2013. In 2012, the economy shrank by 6.9 percent.

The budget forecasts an outcome of 4 percent contraction in 2013. This year, the economy is expected to switch into growth of 0.6 percent, showing the first expansion since 2008.