Morale amongst Italian businesses edged up in January but consumers were slightly more downbeat than the month before, data showed, as the coronavirus epidemic continues to curb economic activity and freedom of movement.
National statistics institute ISTAT's manufacturing confidence index fell to 95.1 in January from 96.0 in December, coming in below a median forecast of 95.6 in a Reuters survey of nine analysts.
However, ISTAT's composite business morale index, combining surveys of the manufacturing, retail, construction and services sectors, increased marginally in January to 87.9 from 87.7 thanks to better sentiment among service providers and construction companies.
Consumer confidence slipped this month to 100.7 from 101.1 in December.
That beat a median forecast of 100.5 in Reuters' poll but in the end the forecast had little meaning because ISTAT introduced a new methodology this month and significantly revised previous months' data.
Impact Of Coronavirus
More than 86,000 people have died of the coronavirus in Italy since its outbreak emerged last February, the second highest toll in Europe and the sixth highest in the world.
The euro zone's third largest economy rebounded by 15.9% in the third quarter of last year from the previous three months after plunging in the first half of the year due to coronavirus lockdowns.
However gross domestic product is expected to have shrunk again in the final quarter due to the recent resurgence of the virus and new government restrictions to try to curb it.
ISTAT will publish its preliminary Q4 GDP estimate on 2 February.
Rome's official forecast is for a full-year drop in gross domestic product of 9% in 2020 followed by growth of 6% this year.