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Italian economic performance through IMF lens

The recently released report stresses the need to reform public administration to improve Italian overall situation

Italian economic performance through IMF lens

Claudia Astarita

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Straight from New York, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has released a 70 pages report on Italian economy.

The analysis was conducted in a very attentive way, having IMF's staff in situ, meeting in May 2015 the highest national authorities in the field, i.e. the Italian Minister of Economy and Finances Carlo Padoan and the Governor of the Bank of Italy Ignazio Visco. It is stated that, although quite slow, a recovery process is taking place, as highlighted by the 0.7% growth in 2015 compared to the 2014 performance. Italian Premier Matteo Renzi's reforms, such as the Job Act, and the help from the Central European Bank played a pivotal role in boosting Italian economy.

Still, according to the IMF, the improvement of Italian financial performance is hindered by the ineffectiveness of public administration. In fact, OSCE ranked it as one of the least effective within Europe, pushing for a complete reform of the whole system.

Moreover, there is a need to increase the growth rate in order to create new employment opportunities. Nonetheless, Renzi's government has already set up a group of reforms that are starting to bear fruit. This is a positive sign, which is not clearly acknowledged in the report, as highlighted by Carlo Cottarelli , the Italian executive director of the IMF.

Furthermore, Cottarelli stressed the fact that many other Italian strengths were not mentioned by the report. For instance, Italy has an excellent manufacturing sector and Italian companies are world top exporters. However, it is known that IMF's report is not conceived to praise a country, instead to put in evidence its weaknesses and to focus on the obstacles for a good economic and financial performance.

Finally, with regard to Greece, IMF's experts argue that a contagion-effect for Italy is "limited", but it is essential to keep Greece within the Eurozone in order to avoid all possible backlashes.

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