Italy Business and consumer sentiment rises in May, but manufacturing remains sluggish | Investment News


ROME, May 26 (Reuters) – Italian business and consumer morale rose in May, data showed on Thursday, as service industries regained confidence despite the ongoing war in Ukraine while manufacturers remained depressed.

National statistics institute ISTAT’s manufacturing confidence index fell to 109.3 in May from 109.9 in April, but is still slightly above a median forecast of 109.0 in a Reuters survey of of 10 analysts.

ISTAT’s composite business sentiment index, combining surveys of the manufacturing, retail, construction and service sectors, rose to 110.9 from 108.4 in April.

More positive sentiment in the service and retail sectors offset a decline in manufacturing and construction.

ISTAT said it had revised its methodology for calculating general business sentiment, resulting in a marked revision to its previous readings for April and prior months.

Consumer confidence rose in May to 102.7 from 100.0 in April, the first increase after four consecutive declines. The reading comfortably beat a median forecast of 100.5 in the Reuters poll.

Last month, Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government revised its economic growth forecast for 2022 down to 3.1%, from 4.7% last September.

The current forecast is still considered optimistic by most independent bodies.

Italy’s gross domestic product contracted by 0.2% in the first quarter compared to the previous three months. This made Italy a negative outlier in the eurozone, where most countries posted modest or firm GDP growth.

((Reporting by Gavin Jones, [email protected]))

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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