Italy Said to See Economy Growing Well Above 5% This Year

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Italy’s economy could grow well above 5% this year -- faster than the latest predictions by the central bank, the OECD and European Commission -- according to two government officials.

Higher global growth and the end of pandemic lockdowns are fueling a stronger-than-expected recovery, the officials said, asking not to be identified as the estimates are still confidential. The brighter outlook is based on models with updated data being studied by the government, they said.

Italy Said to See Economy Growing Well Above 5% This Year

Italy was hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with gross domestic product plunging almost 9% last year. The government has spent more than 170 billion euros ($202 billion) on fiscal stimulus to keep the companies and workers afloat through successive strict lockdowns. More than 200 billion euros in European Union recovery fund cash is on its way in the next few years.

The government had initially forecast growth of 4.5% for 2021, although Finance Minister Daniele Franco said earlier this month that it was likely to revise that number upward.

The Bank of Italy recently updated its projections to say the economy was likely to grow around 5% this year. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development last month predicted 4.5%, and the European Commission foresaw 4.2%.

Banco Stantander SA Chief Executive Officer Ana Botin said Wednesday that the Spanish economy will growth “probably above 8% or 9%” this year, or well above the Bank of Spain’s 6.2% estimate, showing how economies across Europe are growing more hopeful about the future.

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