Italy: Business confidence declines for the sixth consecutive month in December
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—edged down to 99.8 points in December from November’s revised 101.0 points (previously reported: 101.1 points), marking the worst reading in two years.
December’s reading was the result of a deterioration in 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 assessments of order books, while confidence in the construction sector lost ground due to a deterioration in assessments of order books and construction plans. Meanwhile, confidence in the market services sector fell as the outlook on order books and assessments of the business trend worsened. On the other hand, confidence in the retail sales sector continued to improve, supported by a better evaluation of current sales and upbeat expectations on future sales.