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Italy's GDP Falls Less Than Expected

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Italy's economy contracted sharply amid the coronavirus pandemic in the second quarter, but the pace of decline was slower than expected, preliminary estimate from the statistical office Istat showed Friday.

Consumer prices continued to fall in July, preliminary estimates showed today.

Gross domestic product declined 12.4 percent quarter-on-quarter in the second quarter, bigger than the 5.4 percent decrease in the first quarter. GDP was expected to fall 15 percent.

On a yearly basis, GDP plunged 17.3 percent after falling 5.5 percent in the first quarter. Economists had forecast 18.7 percent decline.

The sequential fall was the result of a decrease of value added in agriculture, forestry and fishing, in that of industry as well as in services.

From the demand side, there was a negative contribution both by the domestic component and the net export component.

Consumer prices fell 0.3 percent on a yearly basis, following a 0.2 percent drop in June. Prices were forecast to fall 0.1 percent.

The EU harmonized index of consumer prices advanced 0.9 percent annually, reversing a 0.4 percent drop in June and in contrast to economists' forecast of 0.1 percent drop.

The turnaround of the HICP was due to the prices of clothing and footwear whose growth on an annual basis accelerated sharply to 18.7 percent from 0.4 percent.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices were down 0.1 percent and the HICP dropped 0.6 percent in July. Economists had forecast the CPI to rise 0.1 percent and the HICP to fall 1.5 percent.

In a separate communiqué, the statistical office said retail sales value logged a double-digit growth in June driven by non-food sales.

Retail sales increased 12.1 percent on month in June. However, the rate eased sharply from May's 24 percent growth.

Sales of non-food products advanced 24.4 percent, while food sales were down 0.6 percent.

On a yearly basis, retail sales value dropped at a slower pace of 2.2 percent after easing 10.5 percent in May.

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