Italian April Industrial Production Plunges on Lockdown Damage
Italian industrial production fell sharply in April as the country continued to suffer from a near total lockdown put in place to counter the coronavirus pandemic.
Production fell 19.1% in April from the previous month, national statistics bureau Istat said Thursday. Intermediate goods production declined 24.6%, weighing the most on the overall figure. Textiles fell 41.4%. Production had fallen almost 30% in March.
Italy, one of the original epicenters of the virus in Europe, began a regional lockdown in late February before expanding to the whole country in early March. The government started to relax its restrictions from last month. The shuttering of businesses led to a 5.3% decline in gross domestic product in the first quarter, and a far deeper slump is anticipated this quarter.
From a year earlier, industrial production plunged more than 42% in April. The Bank of Italy sees the economy shrinking between 9.2% and 13.1% this year, which could swell the country’s massive debt ratio to well over 150%.
The government has passed two fiscal stimulus packages since March worth a total 75 billion euros ($85 billion) to support businesses and workers damaged by the pandemic. Italian newspapers reported on Thursday that more stimulus may be needed, and Deupty Finance Minister Laura Castelli told Corriere della Sera she thought it would be beneficial.
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