Gavin's Feed
May 29, 2013

Italy gets some EU respite, but may need more to meet tax pledges

ROME (Reuters) – Italy got some help from Brussels on Wednesday when the European Commission ruled Rome could go off its excess deficit blacklist but the new government will need much more leeway in order to pass the tax cuts it has promised.

Prime Minister Enrico Letta has already suspended the next installment of a hated housing tax, due in June, and is also under pressure to cut labour taxes and scrap a planned increase in sales tax due to take effect in July.

May 26, 2013

Rome votes for new mayor as Italian government struggles

ROME (Reuters) – Romans went to the polls on Sunday to elect a new mayor of Italy’s capital in a vote which could have repercussions for the fragile national government of Prime Minister Enrico Letta.

His center-left Democratic Party (PD) is in crisis since it threw away a 10-point lead before February’s national election. Many of its voters are unhappy with the decision to govern with the center-right led by traditional adversary Silvio Berlusconi.

May 24, 2013

Italians getting glummer on economy, Letta government

ROME, May 24 (Reuters) – Italian consumer morale fell
unexpectedly in May despite the tax-cutting promises of a new
government whose approval ratings are already sliding.

Prime Minister Enrico Letta took office last month at the
head of a left-right coalition which is bickering on a daily
basis and its problems were underlined by the marked decline in
sentiment on the economy.

May 15, 2013

Italy recession becomes longest on record as GDP slumps

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s economy shrank by more than expected in the first quarter, extending the country’s recession to seven straight quarters and making it the longest since quarterly records began in 1970.

Gross domestic product fell 0.5 percent following a 0.9 contraction in the fourth quarter of last year and contracted 2.3 percent on an annual basis, national statistics bureau ISTAT reported on Wednesday.

May 6, 2013

Draghi says ECB ready to act as economy weakens

ROME (Reuters) – European Central Bank President Mario Draghi departed from a prepared speech on Monday to reiterate the central bank’s readiness to cut interest rates again if the euro zone economy deteriorates further.

The euro hit session lows against the dollar and the yen after Draghi said in Rome the ECB would monitor incoming data closely and would be ready to cut rates further, including the deposit rate currently at zero.

May 6, 2013

Letta says Italy can boost growth without increasing debt

ROME (Reuters) – Italy can stage an economic recovery without increasing its huge public debt, Prime Minister Enrico Letta said on Monday ahead of a meeting with his Spanish counterpart where he hoped to find support for his calls for a policy switch in Europe.

Data on Monday offered a glint of hope that Italy’s longest recession for 20 years may be gradually easing, though the euro zone’s third largest economy is still expected to contract sharply in 2013 for the second year running.

May 2, 2013

Italy rejects calls to raise deficit targets

ROME, May 2 (Reuters) – Italy’s economy minister on Thursday
ruled out trying to renegotiate the country’s budget targets,
even as the OECD called for more budget austerity.

Fabrizio Saccomanni told parliament a move to ease Italy’s
deficit targets – such as may happen with France and Spain -
would be counter-productive.

May 2, 2013

Grim OECD forecasts on Italy underline task for new PM Letta

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s economy will contract by more than expected this year and its public finances will deteriorate in 2013 and 2014, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said on Thursday.

The OECD’s 122 page Economic Survey of Italy, which said Rome’s fiscal deficit will exceed European Union limits this year and next, underlined the tough challenges faced by Enrico Letta’s new government which took office last week.

Apr 28, 2013

Two police officers shot as Italian government sworn in

ROME (Reuters) – Two Italian police officers were shot and wounded on Sunday outside the prime minister’s office in Rome at the same as Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s new government was being sworn in just a kilometer (mile) away.

It was not immediately clear whether the attack was linked to the launch of the new government, but the episode came at a time of bitter political division with rising social tensions exacerbated by a long economic slump.

Apr 27, 2013

Italy’s Letta sets moderate course with new government

ROME (Reuters) – There is much about Italy’s new center-left prime minister Enrico Letta, who named his cabinet on Saturday, that is likely to please financial markets and Rome’s international partners.

He is young, moderate and pro-European, and despite his low public profile he has been a member of the European political elite for many years. Letta speaks fluent English and has a sound grasp of economics.