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Economy in Brief

Italian Business Confidence
by Louise Curley April 29, 2008

The latest ISAE (Institute for Studies and Economic Analysis) surveys of confidence among entrepreneurs in Italy continue to show weakness. Even among retailers where confidence has held up fairly well, it declined 4.0% in April from March but was still only 2.5% below April 2007. Confidence among manufacturers and miners, which has been declining for over a year, declined 2.1% in April from March, and was 11.4% below April 2007. Confidence in the construction industry is available only through March. In that month confidence in the construction industry was down 3.7% from February and was 16.4% below March, 2007. These three confidence indicators are expressed as indexes with base year 2000 and are shown in the first chart.

The ISAE survey of confidence in the service industries is expressed in terms of percent balances. In April the excess of optimists over pessimists in all the service industries increased from 2.7% to 4.0% but in April 2007, the excess of optimists was 44.7%. Confidence in the personal service sector declined the most (-13 basis points) from March to April. Confidence in the business sector declined by 5 basis points and confidence in the financial sector services rose 2 basis points. Trends in confidence in the total, business, personal and financial sectors of the service industry are shown in the second and third charts where the steep declines in confidence over the past year in all areas are apparent.

ITALY ISAE SURVEYS  Apr 08 Mar  08  Apr 07 M/M Chg  Y/Y Chg  2007 2006 2005
Manufacturing & Mining (2000=100) 86.9 88.8 98.1 -2.14 -11.42 94.3 95.8 87.5
Retail Trade (2000=100) 106.2 110.6 108.9 -3.98 -2.48 110.2 108.2 101.4
Services (% balance)  4.0 2.7 44.7 1.3 -40.7 27.7 28.9 13.6
  Personal Services 2 11 42 -13 -40 25 24 14
  Business Services 8 13 47 -5 -39 30 33 13
  Financial Services -14 -16 8.0 2 -22 0 9 12
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