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Italy's public debt rose to record high in May

(Xinhua)

15:30, July 17, 2012

ROME, July 16 (Xinhua) -- Italy's public debt hit a record high in May despite Rome's recent efforts to ease the overstretched finances, showed a central bank report released Monday.

The national debt stood at 2,405 billion U.S. dollars in May, up from 2,385 billion dollars a month earlier, according to the report.

Also on Monday, the International Monetary Fund predicted a negative growth of 1.9 percent for the recession-hit Italian economy in 2012.

Meanwhile, a report by Promotor, an automotive research center, showed gasoline and diesel-fuel consumption fell by a combined average of 9.7 percent in the first half of the year, the biggest drop since 1955, when the center started to collect data.

Promotor blamed the sluggish economy for the shrinking consumption, but noted that higher prices pushed total spending on gasoline and diesel up by 8.8 percent over the period.

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