Italian economy grows 1.1% in 2010 after slow growth in Q4

22:16, February 15, 2011      

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Italy's economy grew 1.1 percent in 2010 over the previous year, marked by 0.1 percent growth in the fourth quarter compared to the third, the state statistics agency ISTAT said Tuesday.

Economists had predicted 0.2 to 0.3 percent growth in the final three months of 2010, but only saw slight growth even though the final quarter usually benefits from holiday shopping.

Despite the slower-than-expected growth in the fourth quarter, the full-year growth figure was about even with projections from most economists.

Ittaly's economic growth now has trailed that of the European Union as a whole for a fifth consecutive year and for the 10th time in 12 years.

It also means that the Italian economy remains smaller than it was at the end of 2004, mostly because of a 5.1 percent contraction in 2009 on the heels of a 1.3 percent erosion in growth the year before.

The biggest culprit in a short-lived growth spurt around mid-year was a temporary weakening of the euro currency, which boosted exports and helped tourism. But as the euro rose against the U.S. dollar and other major currencies at the end of the summer, growth rates stalled.

Source: Xinhua

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