Italy’s Istituo Nazionale di Statistica (Istat) EU downgrades the country’s growth forecast in 2019 significantly. It now projects GDP to grow just 0.3% in real terms. Back in November, it projected GDP to grow 1.3% in real terms. Domestic demand is expected to provide 0.3% to GDP growth (1.3% projected in November). while foreign demand and inventories will provide a null contribution.

Labor market assessment was downgraded t “stabilize over the forecasting period”, from “improve over the forecasting period”. Employment is expected to grow 0.1% in 2019 and unemployment will rise slightly to 10.8%, much higher than November expectation of 10.2%.

Full release here.

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Separately, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said “must get out from the cage”, as EU policy over the past decade had brought “precariousness and despair”. He criticized that budget rules limiting the deficit and debt should be removed to free up the bloc’s economies.

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