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Italy Q3 GDP rebounds 16.1% after coronavirus lockdown, much stronger than expected

10/30/2020 | 04:00am EST

* Q3 GDP 16.1% q/q, -4.7% y/y, above expectations

* Follows steep falls in Q1 and Q2

* Rebounds from coronavirus lockdown

ROME, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Italy's economy grew by 16.1% in the third quarter from the previous three months, preliminary data showed on Friday, a much stronger rebound than expected following a coronavirus lockdown.

The rise in gross domestic product in the euro zone's third largest economy followed unrevised quarterly declines of 13.0% in the second quarter and 5.5% in the first, national statistics bureau ISTAT said.

On a year-on-year basis, third quarter GDP was still down 4.7%.

A Reuters survey of 25 analysts had forecast an 11.2% quarterly rise, down 8.7% from the year earlier.

ISTAT said quarter-on-quarter growth between July and September was broad-based, with industry, services and agriculture all showing a rise in output.

It gave no numerical details with its preliminary estimate.

The government of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the centre-left Democratic Party forecasts a full-year 2020 GDP contraction of 9.0%.

Rome had expected growth to continue in the fourth quarter but this is now threatened by a resurgence of the coronavirus which has forced the government to impose new restrictions on business.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has ordered that bars and restaurants close at 6 p.m. and shuttered gyms, cinemas and theatres, among other measures.

ISTAT said that if GDP were to be flat quarter-on-quarter in the final three months of the year, full-year GDP would be down 8.2% compared with 2019.

At the end of the third quarter, GDP was at around the same level as in the first half of 2015, ISTAT said.

Italy has recorded more than 38,000 fatalities from COVID-19 since its outbreak emerged on Feb. 21, the second highest death toll in Europe after Britain's.

The steep recession and the government's extra spending to soften its impact will hit Rome's public finances. The budget deficit this year is targeted at 10.5% of GDP, compared with just 1.6% in 2019, while the public debt is seen soaring to a post-war record of 158% of GDP.

ISTAT gave the following details on Italian GDP in the last three quarters:

Q3 Q2 Q1 Q/Q (pct change) 16.1 -13.0 -5.5 Y/Y (pct change) -4.7 -17.9r -5.6


© Reuters 2020
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