Morale among Italian businesses and consumers improved in December, data showed on Friday, offering some hope for the economy going into the new year as the government moves closer to approving its 2020 budget.
National statistics institute ISTAT's manufacturing confidence index edged up marginally in December to 99.1 from an upwardly revised 99.0 in November, matching the median forecast in a Reuters survey of nine analysts.
However the composite business morale index, combining surveys of the manufacturing, retail, construction and services sectors, rose more strongly to 100.7 from 99.2 thanks to marked improvements in retail, construction and services.
The December overall business confidence index was the highest since July this year.
Consumer confidence rose this month to 110.8 from 108.6 in November, beating the median forecast of 109.0 in Reuters' poll.
The latest data follows weeks of bickering within the ruling coalition over the 2020 budget, which must be approved in parliament by the end of the year.
The Italian economy has been broadly stagnant for the last seven quarters, but has managed to stave off a recession which was widely feared at the start of this year.
Relative strength in the service sector has compensated for a long-running manufacturing slump.
Gross domestic rose 0.1% in the third quarter from the previous three months and was up 0.3% on a year-on-year basis, ISTAT reported last month.
The government forecasts growth of just 0.1% over the whole of this year, rising to 0.6% in 2020.