Industrial output in January was five per cent down on a year earlier, while a study by Intesa Sanpaolo, a bank, shows that national consumption of food, drink and tobacco fell in 2011 to levels last seen 30 years ago.
John Elkann, chairman of Fiat, expects Italians to buy fewer cars this year than they did in 1985. Registration of new Fiat group cars in Europe fell 16.7 per cent in February from a year earlier.
Whereas electricity producers were fretting four years ago that Italy lacked generating capacity, one senior utility executive told the Financial Times he feared that industrial consumption would never return to the then levels.
Analysts warn the worst is yet to come. This month Italians will feel the first impact of Mr Monti’s revenue-raising measures when they start paying higher regional income tax. In June reintroduction of a tax on first homes and higher rates on second homes come into force, to be followed in October by a further rise in value added tax.
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