Business confidence in Italy rose in August to its highest level since July 2012, the data agency Istat said on Thursday, amid hopes economic recovery may be near. The confidence index reached 82.2 points from 79.8 points in July, compared to 84.1 points in July 2012. The government says it expects the recovery to start later this year, ending a withering two-year recession that has pushed unemployment to record highs. All the sectors in the composite index showed increased confidence except for construction which went down by 0.4 points to 76.1 points. The manufacturing sector went from 91.8 to 92.9 points and the services sector from 75.7 to 79.7 points.