December 29, 2017 / 10:34 AM / a year ago

Italy leading indicator improves in December but at slower rate: ISTAT

FILE PHOTO: Euro coins are seen on the figure of a pair of hands, which are painted in Italy's national colours. Picture taken on August 23, 2014. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

ROME (Reuters) - Italy’s leading economic indicator improved in December but at a slower rate than in the previous two months, suggesting the current growth rate will be sustained, statistics office ISTAT said on Friday.

The long-stagnant Italian economy has been picking up since the end of last year and the recovery is looking increasingly solid, supported by job growth and buoyant business sentiment.

Third-quarter GDP growth clocked in at 0.4 percent, ISTAT said earlier this month, adding that even if there is no growth in the fourth quarter, full-year growth will come in at 1.4 percent.

The government forecasts expansion of 1.5 percent for 2017, which would be the strongest rate since 2010, but lag other European Union countries.

Reporting by Isla Binnie; editing by Agnieszka Flak

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