Italian Consumers Overcome Political Impasse as Confidence Rises

(Bloomberg) -- Italian consumer confidence unexpectedly rose despite inconclusive elections earlier this month.

The household gauge jumped to 117.5 in March from a revised 115.7 the previous month, statistics bureau Istat said Tuesday in Rome. That was above the median estimate of 115 in a Bloomberg survey of 11 analysts. Manufacturing confidence fell to 109.1 from a revised 110.4.

Italy’s economy, the euro region’s third-biggest, expanded last year at the fastest pace since 2010 as slower consumption was more than offset by rising exports and investments. Still, national output remained below its pre-crisis peak, whereas all the major European economies have long regained lost ground.

Industrial output fell 1.9 percent in January, fueling concern about the outlook for the country’s recovery from its longest recession since World War II.

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