Italy: Health emergency and containment measure sap business confidence in March
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—dived to an over six-year low of 81.7 in March from February’s 97.8, hit by fears of a further spread of coronavirus and by the associated containment measures.
March saw the retail trade sector taking the biggest hit, torpedoed by tumbling future business expectations. Moreover, confidence in market services sector collapsed amid plunging order books expectations and worse assessments of order books. Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector registered a notable albeit less sharp decline in confidence, as both assessments of order books and production expectations worsened. Lastly, the construction sector recorded an only limited drop in confidence, due to deteriorating assessments on order books and construction plans as well as reduced employment expectations.