Italy: Business confidence at four-year low in February
The National Institute of Statistics (Istat)’s composite business confidence indicator (Clima di Fiducia delle Imprese Italiane, IESE)—which covers the manufacturing, construction, market services and retail sectors—fell to 98.3 points in February from January’s revised 99.1 points (previously reported: 99.2 points), marking the worst reading since February 2015.
February’s reading was the result of deteriorating sentiment in the manufacturing, construction and market services sectors, which more than offset improved sentiment in the retail trade sector. Confidence in the manufacturing sector deteriorated on less favorable production expectations, while confidence in the construction sector lost ground due to a deterioration in employment expectations. Meanwhile, confidence in the market services sector fell as well, as both assessments of current order books and expectations on future order books worsened. On the other hand, confidence in the retail sales sector strengthened, supported by better assessments of current sales and improved expectations on future sales.