Maserati car on the assembly line at the company\'s new plant in Grugliasco, northern Italy
The Italian economy did worse than thought in the first quarter of this year, shrinking by 0.6 percent instead of by 0.5 percent estimated previously, official data
showed on Monday.
The figures paint a grim picture for the state of the Italian economy, the third-biggest in the eurozone, marking the seventh quarterly contraction in a row.
However, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said on Monday that its indices of leading indicators pointed to \"positive change\" in the Italian economy.
The first-quarter figure provided by the Italian statistics institute Istat was by comparison with output in the last quarter of last year.
And on a 12-month comparison output slumped by 2.4 percent, also worse than an earlier estimate of minus 2.3 percent.
The last forecast by the Italian government for growth of the economy this year was issued before the arrival of the new government under Prime Minister Enrico Letta at the end of April.
That forecast was for the economy to shrink by 1.3 percent this year and then growing by 1.3 percent in 2014.
In the first quarter, all the drivers of demand fell: internal consumption fell by 0.3 percent, fixed investment by 3.3 percent and exports by 1.9 percent.
At Capital Economics in London, senior European economist Jennifer McKeown said that \"worryingly\", Italian industrial data for April suggested that the situation \"is not about to improve.\"
However she also to the latest industrial production data from France, the second-biggest eurozone economy after Germany, showing a strong rise of 2.2 percent in April, offering \"hope\" that the French economy might expand in the second quarter.
She said: \"In all, national survey data released so far point to a healthy rise in eurozone industrial production in April, perhaps of around 0.8 percent. But with surveys of both industrial and service sector activity still at very low levels, we think it is still too soon to call the end of the eurozone\'s record long recession.\"