MILAN — Italy is officially in a recession.
The country’s National Institute for Statistics ISTAT released a study on Friday estimating that Italy’s gross domestic product was down 12.4 percent in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the previous quarter.
In the period, the country’s GDP fell 17.3 percent compared with the same quarter last year. ISTAT took into account that the second quarter of 2020 had one working day less than both the previous and the same quarter of the previous year.
The quarter-on-quarter change is the result of a decrease of value added in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors, as well as industries and in services.
Negative local demand and exports also contributed to the results.
The carry-over annual GDP growth for 2020 amounted to a 14.3 percent drop.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken to contain the spread caused the Italian economy to register a 5.4 percent drop in the first quarter of the year, and a 12.4 percent contraction that ISTAT characterized as “unprecedented.” The GDP drop in the second quarter is the lowest reported since the first quarter of 1995.
Italy is not alone, as other countries also showed steep declines in second-quarter GDP compared with the previous quarter, such as 32.9 percent drop in the U.S.; 13.8 percent in France, and 10.7 percent in Germany.
To support the economic recovery, the Italian government has earmarked an injection of 25 billion euros for its 2020 budget, dragging down its public deficit to 11.9 percent of its GDP — the highest of the euro zone. The country’s debt is expected to amount to 157.6 percent of GDP.
According to ISTAT, the value of Italy’s GDP from April to June 2020 shrank by 50.3 billion euros compared with the previous quarter. Since this is the third consecutive decrease, ISTAT confirmed that Italy is in a recession.
The Minister of Economy Roberto Gualtieri has expressed his hope that the end of the lockdown could bring a 15 percent recovery in the third quarter.
On July 21, the European Union’s 27 national leaders agreed on a 750 billion euros Recovery Fund via grants and loans to help countries recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, although details are still being mapped out. Italy is expected to be one of the main beneficiaries of the EU agreement.
This month, Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte extended the emergency status, first announced at the end of January, until Oct. 15, allowing the government to speed up decrees and initiatives to manage the coronavirus emergency.
The country’s lockdown was enforced on March 9 and began to ease on May 4. As of July 30, the number of citizens infected in Italy totaled 247,158 and the number of deaths were 35,132. Those recovered amounted to 199,796.