Italy’s GDP growth rate in
Steven Wyble is online content editor at Scotsman Guide Media.
Reach him at (800) 297-6061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once home to the Roman empire, Italy is a country steeped in rich history and
tradition. The country remains a popular tourist destination, boasting well-known
landmarks such as St. Peter’s Basilica and the Colosseum in Rome. Italy’s economy,
however, has seen better days, and the country is still struggling to claw back from
the fiscal turmoil it experienced in the early 2000s.
Italy has experienced only tepid GDP growth in recent years, with Cushman & Wakefield
projecting 0.9 percent growth in 2017, up from 0.8 percent in 2016 and 0.6 percent in
2015. Additionally, unemployment ticked up this past December, according to CBRE,
nearing 12 percent, with the unemployment rate for young people exceeding 39 percent. As of this past March, the unemployment rate was 11. 7 percent .
Italy’s economy improved in 2016 over the previous year, although it was still weak compared to other eurozone countries, according to a Cushman & Wakefield report released
in third-quarter 2016. Although the Cushman & Wakefield analysis indicates that consumer confidence weakened in third-quarter 2016, it began trending upward in the
fourth quarter of last year, CBRE reports. Consumer spending, however, was expected
to slow to 0.7 percent in 2017, down from a projected 1.2 percent in 2016, the Cushman
& Wakefield report states.
Italy’s retail sector saw positive signs in 2016, with the completion of four new retail
projects, including two shopping centers in southern Italy, one in Tuscany and one
in Milan, the CBRE report states. Apple and Starbucks are slated to open stores in
Milan in the near future.
Italy ended 2016 with approximately 306,000 square meters of new retail space completed — the highest total in the past five years, according to CBRE. And the real
estate research company sees good things for the country in the year ahead, noting
there is $1.5 billion in new retail development in the pipeline for 2017.
One source of uncertainty for the country is the rise of populist political movements.
This past December, Italian voters rejected a referendum that would have streamlined legislative reforms. The vote was widely viewed as a rejection of Italian Prime
Minister Matteo Renzi, who had championed the referendum and resigned in the
wake of its defeat.
The country won’t hold an election for a new prime minister until April 2018, although
President Sergio Mattarella may push for early elections in 2017.
As it currently stands, the country’s populist, anti-establishment Five Star Movement
is the leading political party and its candidate has a strong chance of winning the
election for prime minister. The expanding footprint of Italian populism gives rise to
the possibility that the country, which represents the fourth-largest economy in the
European Union, could be on a path to leave the eurozone and abandon the euro as
its official currency. n
By Steven Wyble
Italy’s unemployment rate as of
Italy’s inflation rate as of