Italian Consumer Morale Falls Amid Post-Election Stalemate
Morale among Italian consumers fell in April, data showed on Tuesday, amid political stalemate in the wake of inconclusive national elections seven weeks ago.
Consumer confidence dropped in April to 117.1 from 117.5 the month before, but remained a tad above the median forecast in Reuters' survey which pointed to 116.9.
Elsewhere, national statistics institute ISTAT's manufacturing confidence index slipped to 107.7 in April from 108.9 in March, the second consecutive decline and the lowest reading since May last year. A Reuters survey of 10 analysts had forecast 108.7.
ISTAT's composite business morale index, combining surveys of the manufacturing, retail, construction and services sectors, fell to 105.1 from 105.9 to register its lowest level since February last year.
Parties have been stuck in fruitless talks for almost two months since March 4 elections produced a hung parliament, with the leaders of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the right-wing League both claiming the right to be prime minister.
The 5-Star was by far the largest single party, but the League was the leading group in a centre-right alliance which won most seats in parliament.
The economy has been growing modestly since Italy emerged from a steep, double-deep recession in 2014, but poverty has continued to increase and unemployment remains well above the euro zone average.
Recent data has pointed to an economic slowdown.
The outgoing government of caretaker Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni forecasts gross domestic product will rise 1.5 percent in 2018, in line with last year's rate which was the strongest since 2010, but below that of the rest of the euro zone.