Italy's way out of crisis

CNC report from Milan
Added On August 8, 2013

The economic crisis is still affecting Italy.

However, some reverse trend figures show the country's slow exit from the longest recession in more than 20 years.

Italy led confidence growth among eurozone businesses in July: the Economic Sentiment Indicator index rose 2.9 points, more than double the eurozone average.

There are a series of positive signals about the Italian economy in recent days.

Industrial production registered monthly increases in both June and July.

Last month, manufacturing purchasing managers' index also reported growth for the first time in two years.

In the first half of this year, exports of the “Made in Italy” to non-European countries increased from the same period in 2012.

Agriculture helps foster recovery hopes.

It was the only sector showing signs of economic vitality in the first six months.

"Lombardy region makes around one fifth of the Italian GDP, and is expected to drive recovery. The region of business capital Milan is the richest in Italy and one of the richest in the whole of Europe."

The region's economy showed a 0.1-percent growth in industrial production in the second quarter, after 18 consecutive months of decline.

The increase was especially driven by foreign demand for food, wine, textiles and machinery.

The regional government has introduced some measures to sustain small- and medium-sized companies.

SOUNDBITE(Italian): ROBERTO MARONI, Lombardy's President
"My government’s commitment is intervening to support companies in difficulty, and the theme of jobs is the number one priority. We have launched a series of initiatives. For example, we have refinanced the guarantee system for small- and medium sized companies, allowing banks to give loans of more than 500 million euros worth. We have also studied a measure, named cash credit, which makes available one billion euros to finance companies that have credits with town governments in Lombardy region."

Lombardy is also Italy’s leading agricultural area.

The establishment of agricultural districts and cooperation among supply chain players have consolidated the whole agro-food.

Italy’s agro-food exports showed growth of 6.6 percent in the first quarter.

There is also a jump in enrollment in agricultural vocational schools and related technical colleges.

SOUNDBITE(English): MARZIA DE GIULI, CNC correspondent
"In a country with unemployment rate above 12 percent, hiring was up in agriculture 3.6 percent last year."

Many of the new jobs went to workers under 40 years old.

"Our farm has worked in particular for multi-functionality and variety of products that we offer to final consumers through enlarging our livestock."

He says innovation and quality are fundamental for achieving good results.

"Our strategy, which I think is the same for my colleagues, is not being afraid of working seven days a week, often from 06:00 a.m. to midnight or even during the night, and doing this throughout the year. It definitely becomes our way of life."

The Milan Expo 2015 is also awaited as a powerful tool to stimulate economy.

An agreement has been signed between unions and the Expo management to create as many as 800 new jobs.