Italy: Business confidence close to four-year low in April
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 98.7 points in April from March’s revised 99.1 points (previously reported: 99.2 points), and moving closer to February’s four-year low of 98.2 points.
April’s reading came mainly on the back of plunging sentiment in the retail sector, and was also affected by falling sentiment in the manufacturing and market services sectors, which more than offset stronger sentiment in the construction sector. Confidence in the retail trade sector lost considerable ground, a clear sign of weakening consumer spending amid a distressed economy and constant political uncertainty. Moreover, confidence in the market services sector worsened as well, as both assessments of current order books and expectations on future business trends got gloomier. Additionally, sentiment in the manufacturing sector declined slightly, dragged down by worse assessments of order books and deteriorated production expectations. On the other hand, confidence in the construction sector rose on more favorable assessments of order books and construction plans.