Italy Today

Economic recovery is reaching the south of Europe

Competitiveness in Italy, Spain and Portugal is increasing, but there is still much to be done

Economic recovery is reaching the south of Europe

Claudia Astarita

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New surveys have showed that with French and Italian companies registering some positive results, economic recovery is finally approaching the south of Europe.

In Italy, services PMI performed particularly well, going beyond all expectations, suggesting that the third-biggest economy in Europe is eventually back on track.

Although the European Central Bank President Mario Draghi stated last week that European recovery is "weak, fragile and uneven", looking at the border picture the only country creating some disappointment was Spain, mainly because the rise in business activity registered in August (the first in more than two years), proved short-lived, as firms just slipped back into decline.

Differently from Spain, Germany reported rising new orders and staffing levels, while private sector in France grew for the first time in a year and a half. Further, the harmonised competitiveness indicators, which look at the price and cost competitiveness of eurozone countries, revealed that Italy, Germany, France, Portugal, Slovakia and also Spain have increased their competitiveness. Indeed, in the second quarter of 2013 their labour costs decrease and competitiveness consequently increased from the first quarter of 2013. In particular, Italy's score shifted from 1.9% in the first quarter to -1.2% in the second.

No matter how encouraging these data might appear, it is a matter of fact that Europe still has a long way to improve its economic background in the longer term. We can eventually consider the eurozone crisis as stable, as it is no more getting worse, but all countries need to avoid now to promote the proliferation of poorly-paid jobs, stimulating growth at the expense of wages.

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