Morale amongst Italian businesses and consumers jumped in May, data showed on Thursday, as the government continued to steadily ease coronavirus restrictions.
National statistics institute ISTAT's manufacturing confidence index increased to 110.2 in May, the highest reading for more than three years, from an upwardly revised 106.0 in April - previously reported as 105.4.
The data was far above a median forecast of 106.4 in a Reuters survey of six analysts.
Composite Business Morale
ISTAT's composite business morale index, combining surveys of the manufacturing, retail, construction and services sectors, came in at 106.7 in May, compared with April's reading of 97.9, also posting a multi-year high.
Consumer confidence rose this month to 110.6 from 102.3 in April, easily beating a median forecast of 104.4 in Reuters' poll and registering the highest level since February last year, just before the start of Italy's COVID epidemic.
More than 125,000 people have died of the coronavirus in Italy, the second highest toll in Europe and the seventh highest in the world.
However, Mario Draghi's government has been progressively easing restrictions on business and movement since last month, following a gradual decline in infection rates.
The euro zone's third largest economy contracted by 8.9% last year, its steepest post-war decline in gross domestic product.
Rome's official forecast is for a rebound of 4.5% this year.
In March, morale amongst Italian businesses rose but consumer sentiment declined as Draghi's new government took its first steps.