Italy’s minister upbeat about economic prospects for 2020

Italian Minister of Economy and Finance Roberto Gualtieri said Thursday that he sees positive signs for Italy’s economy despite the slow economic growth closing out 2019.

Speaking in a radio interview, Gualtieri said, “indicators show that the economic situation started recovering in January,” adding that “the economy is going better than our forecasts.”

The Italian economy contracted 0.3 percent over the final three months of 2019, according to data from Italy’s National Statistics Institute.

Italy’s 2020 budget plan is based on a predicted growth rate of at least 0.6 percent this year, down from earlier government estimates of 0.8 percent for the year as a whole.

In their latest economic models, the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of Italy both predict the economy will grow 0.5 percent in 2020 after modest downgrades.

Gualtieri acknowledged his statements run contrary to mainstream forecasts for the direction of the Italian economy, but he insisted “we are correct.”

The first concrete indicators of Italy’s economic health are expected later this month.

The National Statistics Institute will release new data on inflation for the month of January on Feb. 21.

The first estimates on gross domestic product growth and exports in January are expected to be released before the end of the month.