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Italy Aug industry output rises much more than expected, as post-lockdown recovery continues

ROME, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Italian industrial output rose a much stronger-than-expected 7.7% in August from the month before, data showed on Friday, a fourth consecutive monthly gain following the end of the country’s coronavirus lockdown.

A Reuters survey of 18 analysts had pointed to a rise of just 1.3%.

July’s data was revised down slightly to show a 7.0% increase, originally reported at 7.4%.

August’s data takes seasonally adjusted output levels back to around where they were before Italy was hit by the virus outbreak in February.

Production was down just 0.3% on a year-on-year basis compared with August 2019, national statistics bureau ISTAT reported.

That followed an 8.3% year-on-year drop in July, revised from a previously reported -8.0%.

However, industrial production is often volatile in July and August, ISTAT cautioned, when many factories are closed for the summer break and it is hard to make accurate seasonal adjustments to the data.

In the three months to August, industrial output in the euro zone’s third largest economy was up 34.6% compared with the March-to-May period.

Production rose across the board in August, ISTAT said, with output of consumer goods, investment goods, intermediate goods and energy products all increasing from the month before.

Italian gross domestic product, hit by the coronavirus lockdown between March and May, shrank by 12.8% in the second quarter from the previous three months, the steepest GDP fall since ISTAT’s current series began in 1995.

The government of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the centre-left Democratic Party forecasts a full-year 2020 GDP decline of 9%.

Most independent forecasters expect an even steeper, double-digit drop.

Italian industrial output fell by around a quarter during a steep double dip recession between 2008 and 2013.

It regained only a small part of that during a modest recovery in the subsequent years, which has now been disrupted by the coronavirus emergency.

ISTAT gave the following details.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION AUGUST JULY JUNE Mth/mth pct change (adjusted) 7.7 7.0r 8.2 Yr/yr pct change (adjusted) -0.3 -8.3r -13.9 Yr/yr pct change (unadjusted) -0.3 -8.2r -11.2 NOTE: BASE 2015=100. (r) indicates revised figures.

ISTAT provided the following breakdown by broad product group in August: adjusted month-on-month percent change Consumer goods 6.6 Investment goods 4.3 Intermediate goods 4.0 Energy goods 3.5

Keywords: ITALY ECONOMY/OUTPUT

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