In April the indicator for business confidence in Italy surprisingly fell to its 2-year low. The downfall was caused by concerns over the deepening economic crisis. According to the National Institute for Statistics,
the index slumped to 89.5 from revised 91.1 in March. Economists had predicted a reading of 92.1 points. On April 18, Mario Monti Cabinet, which is implementing the austerity plan to cut budget deficit, said - it now expects a shrinkage of 1.2% of the GDP this year.
Furthermore, pessimistic mood was fuelled by higher taxes and soaring energy prices. The consumer price index fell to 89 points, a low for over 15 years.
Last week, following Spain, Italy announced - its budget would only be balanced by 2014, a year later than it was planned in December. Ranked the third largest economy in the Eurozone, Italy entered recession in the 4th quarter of 2011. As it is stated in the Bank of Italy economic bulletin, the country's GDP is seen to dwindle by additional 0.7% in the 1st quarter this year as production output is at risk of contraction.