The economic crisis is not over for Italy. The country faces a second quarter with a decreasing GDP figure. In the first quarter of 2014, Italy’s economy shrank by 0.2 percent. The numbers forming the second quarter figures indicate a trend, with another contraction of 0.1 percent. Successive quarters indicating negative growth are interpreted as a period of economic recession by economists. Italy enters another recession, but taken monthly, the numbers would not necessarily be so disastrous. From May to June, the economy grew by 0.9 percent.
Greece is finally seeing better economic figures. Moody’s just upgraded the country’s ratings by two notches, up to Caa1.
The end of 2013 signaled sustained economic growth for Italy, so the news of recession comes as a surprise. Hetal Mehta, European economist with Legal & General Investment Management, told the BBC: “Italy has a huge pile of government debt and they need growth to bring that debt stock down, so having such weak growth figures is a major setback.” Since 2007, Italy’s economy shrank by 9 percent, according to the Bank of Italy.
Italy did not undertake too many measures against the economic recession. Other countries, such as Spain, combined austerity measures with labor market reforms.
Italy enters another recession in the midst of international turmoil caused by Russia and Israel
The Italian administration predicted a 0.8 percent economic growth for 2014 and 2.6 percent GDP deficit. If things worsen up, Italy might have to appeal external aid and to form another budget. Nevertheless, this is Italy’s third recession in the last six years.
Matteo Renzi, the 39 years old Italian Prime Minister will be affected by the latest economic figures. He took the power in February and promised to initiate reforms in the labor market, privatization and support tax cuts. The neoliberal mindset does not seem to provide satisfactory results so far.
Other three countries from the Euro zone faced economic recession in 2014. Finland, Cyprus, and Greece have reported two successive quarters of economic shrinking.
Italy’s unsatisfactory economic results might have been influenced by external factors too. Russia and the Middle East are some of Italy’s biggest markets for fashion and luxury goods. But right now there is turmoil in both areas. Allegedly Russia gathers military resources at the border with Ukraine and the stock prices fell vigorously as a consequence. Italy enters another recession as its economy is sensitive to these recent changes.