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Italy Slips Into Recession In Q4

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Italy slid into a technical recession at the end of the year as the economy shrunk for a second quarter in a row, preliminary figures from the statistical office ISTAT showed on Thursday.

Gross domestic producer decreased 0.2 percent from the third quarter, when the economy contracted 0.1 percent. Economists had expected a 0.1 percent decline.

The country, which battles a host of economic troubles such as a banking crisis and high debt, became the only one from the Eurozone's big four to enter into recession at the end of 2018, dealing a setback to the new right-wing and anti-establishment coalition government.

The statistical office attributed the latest quarterly decline to a negative contribution from the domestic demand, mainly the change in inventories, while the net export component made a positive contribution.

A decrease in the value added in agriculture, forestry and fishing, and industry also impacted, the agency said.

Compared to the same quarter a year ago, GDP edged up 0.1 percent after a 0.6 percent increase in the previous three months. Economists had forecast 0.3 percent growth.

The annual pace of growth was the weakest outcome since the third quarter of 2014, when the economy stagnated.

The full year growth for 2018 was 1 percent.

Separately, the ISTAT reported on Thursday that the unemployment rate eased to 10.3 percent in December from 10.5 percent in November.

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