Troubled Italy struggles to see recovery light ahead of vote

Troubled Italy struggles to see recovery light ahead of vote
# 23 January 2013 02:12 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. In the middle of an electoral campaign mainly based on programs to pull Italy out of recession, negative indicators released on Tuesday indicated that the troubled economy is still far away from recovery, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

According to a report of Rete Impresa Italia business association, Italy's recession forced at least 100,000 companies to close between 2011 and 2012 without being replaced by new ones.

The same association estimated that average incomes in the country will be the lowest this year since 1996. It said that, after a 4.8-percent drop of per capita income registered in 2012, a further loss is expected to take it down to 16,955 euros (22,572 U.S. dollars) in 2013. The last time per capita income below 17,000 euros was registered in 1996, or 17 years ago.

Per capita spending was also expected to register the lowest performance in 15 years after falling 4.4 percent in 2012 and a forecast 1.4 percent this year, meaning that every Italian will spend 15,695 euros in 2013 compared to 15,753 in 1998.

Less than five weeks before around 51 million Italians will have to put trust in the next government's ability to restart the stagnant economy, the country is paying the price of years of bad political and economical behavior, local analysts said.

According to latest figures of the Italian central bank, in 2013 the eurozone third economy will still be in a recession with its gross domestic product (GDP) dropping by one percent and unemployment reaching 12 percent in 2014.

Thus, the crisis that started in 2008 continues and its effects could last until 2017, when, according to estimates, the national GDP will not yet have returned to 2007 levels.

Alberto Quadrio Curzio, the deputy president of Rome-based Lincean Academy, one of Italy's most respected science academies, noted that the period of the country loosing benefits from the euro was between 1999 and 2007.

"During those years, Italy did not use the advantages of the euro to drastically reduce debt and boost development," he wrote in a commentary on Il Sole 24 Ore financial newspaper.

A report released Tuesday by the national statistics institute Istat said that more than 5 percent of Italian families, or 3.4 million people, were living in absolute poverty in 2011, while 11 percent, or 8.2 million people, were in relative poverty. (1 euro = 1.33 U.S. dollars)