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Italy's statistics agency forecasts 0.7 per cent growth this year in third largest euro economy

MILAN – Italy’s statistics agency predicts that the eurozone’s third largest economy will grow by 0.7 per cent this year.

ISTAT said Thursday that the economy would be buoyed by a weaker euro, which favours exports, as well as improved domestic spending helped by low energy prices and an expected improvement in the credit market.

In addition, the agency forecast a moderate drop in unemployment, to 12.5 per cent from 12.7 per cent.

Italy has never fully recovered from the global financial crisis, slipping back into recession three times since 2008. ISTAT forecast stronger growth of 1.2 per cent in 2016.

ISTAT’s forecasts were largely in line with those of the government, which put growth in 2015 at 0.7 per cent and at 1.3 per cent next year.