Italy inflation slows, business sentiment improves in 2023

Rome: Italy’s economy appears to have ended 2023 on a mostly positive note, with inflation continuing to slow, and consumer and business confidence on the rise, the latest data of Italy’s National Statistics Institute (ISTAT) showed.

ISTAT reported on Friday that provision calculations of prices in the country showed a 0.6 percent increase compared to the same period a year earlier.

For the full year, prices were on average 5.7 percent higher than in 2022. Energy prices had a smaller impact, climbing by an average of 5.1 percent year-on-year.

In her year-end address on Thursday, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said she believed the Italian economy would outgrow that of the European Union as a whole in 2024. ISTAT predicted the Italian economy would grow 0.7 percent this year.

Italy’s inflation rate stood at 5.9 percent, 5.4 percent and 5.3 percent respectively from July to September, but slowed down to 1.7 percent, 0.8 percent and then 0.6 percent in the last three months of 2023 after the government’s anti-inflation plans entered into force.

In the “anti-inflation quarter,” consumer prices were reduced on a basket of basic necessities.

When plans for the “anti-inflation quarter” were launched in September 2023, the government said it retained the option to extend the measures into 2024.

ISTAT’s survey of consumer and business confidence also showed a positive note for the end of the year, in what the institute called “a widespread improvement.” Consumer confidence rose to 106.7 points from 103.6 points a month earlier, while business confidence climbed to 107.2 points in December from 103.5 points in November.