Italy business and consumer morale rises in December, but manufacturers more downbeat

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ROME, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Morale amongst Italian businesses and consumers rose in December, data showed on Friday, although the manufacturing sector was more downbeat.

National statistics institute ISTAT’s composite business morale index, combining surveys of the manufacturing, retail, construction and services sectors, climbed to 107.8 in December, compared with November’s reading of 106.5.

The index reached its highest level since August despite a fall in confidence among manufacturers, whose sub-index slipped to 101.4 from 102.5, missing a median forecast of 102.7 in a Reuters survey of 9 analysts.

Consumer confidence jumped this month to 102.5 from 98.1 in November, easily beating a forecast of 98.5 in Reuters’ poll.

The surveys were conducted as Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who took office in October, prepared her first budget with some 21 billion euros of increased borrowing to help the economy next year.

Italian gross domestic product will contract in both this quarter and the next, the Treasury forecasts, as sky-high energy costs hit companies and households.

People visit the traditional Befana festival in piazza Navona in Rome, Italy. The popular Christmas market runs in the Italian capital from 01 December until 06 January 2023. EPA-EFE/MASSIMO PERCOSSI

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