September 15, 2017 / 5:27 PM / 10 months ago

Italy to grow around 1.5 percent this year and next, central bank says

ROME (Reuters) - Italy’s economy is strengthening and gross domestic product (GDP) is likely to grow around 1.5 percent this year and in 2018, Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco said on Friday.

Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco attends the session 'Recharging Europe' in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

Italian economic data has been improving since GDP rose a stronger-than-expected 0.4 percent in the first quarter and most economists have recently raised their forecasts, though the country continues to lag most of its euro zone peers.

“The cyclical improvement is spreading to most industrial sectors,” Visco said in a speech in the central Italian town of Assisi.

Rome has targeted 2017 growth of 1.1 percent but that forecast, made in April, will be raised to 1.4 percent or 1.5 when the Treasury issues new projections next week, its chief economist said this week.

The Treasury is also expected to significantly raise next year’s forecast, which currently stands at 1.0 percent.

Reporting by Stefano Bernabei, writing by Gavin Jones

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