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Italy Jan-June public deficit widens to 10.0% of GDP vs 3.2% in Jan-June 2019

ROME, Oct 2 (Reuters)- Italy’s public budget deficit surged in the first half of this year to 10.0% of gross domestic product, compared with 3.2% in the same period of 2019, official statistics agency ISTAT said on Friday.

The widening deficit was due to a jump in public spending and lower revenues linked to the outbreak of COVID-19 which prompted a government lockdown on activity between March and May.

Over the first half of the year revenues fell by 7.7% year-on-year, while public spending increased by 5.0%.

In the second quarter, the deficit amounted to 10.3% of GDP, compared with a completely balanced budget in Q2 2019.

Italy has an official target of a 2020 deficit of 10.8% of GDP, compared with just 1.6% registered last year. ISTAT gave the following quarterly public finance data. All data are expressed as a percent of gross domestic product.

Public balance Revenues Spending Primary Balance* Q2 2020 -10.3 50.6 60.8 -5.9 Q2 2019 0.0 47.6 47.6 4.1

*Public balance net of debt servicing costs. r=revised

Reporting by Gavin Jones, + 39 06 8522 4232