Italy Economy Real Time Data Charts

Edward Hugh is only able to update this blog from time to time, but he does run a lively Twitter account with plenty of Italy related comment. He also maintains a collection of constantly updated Italy economy charts together with short text updates on a Storify dedicated page Italy - Lost in Stagnation?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Industrial Production Rebounds in October

Following the 1% decline in September industrial production rebounded in October, and was up 3.7% year on year:

Italian industrial production rose in October for a second month in three on stronger demand for consumer goods such as washing machines and clothing.

Production rose 0.6 percent from September, when it declined 1.0 percent, the national statistics office Istat said today in Rome.

Production of durable goods for consumers rose 1.3 percent in the month, and output of food and beverages jumped 3.5 percent, while clothing production gained 3.7 percent from a month earlier, today's report showed. Production of automobiles gained 15.4 percent in October from a year earlier, Istat said.

But watch out for the future:

The appreciation of the euro may weigh on demand for EU exports in the coming months, slowing growth in 2007. The euro has gained 12 percent against the dollar this year, climbing to $1.3367 on Dec. 4, the highest since March 2005.

New Immigration Law In The Works

Just following on from the previous post about the role of immigrants in Italian GDP growth it is interesting to note that Welfare Minister Paolo Ferrero has announced that the government is working on the draft of a new law which would be more coherent with Italy's growing need for and increasing dependence on immigrants:

Italy should have a new immigration law before summer, relaxing restrictions adopted by the previous centre-right government, Welfare Minister Paolo Ferrero said on Thursday.

Speaking after a meeting with local authorities and immigrant associations, he explained that his department, together with the interior ministry, had nearly finished drafting the bill. "The measure should start its passage through parliament in January and be finalized by spring," he said. The law would relax restrictions introduced by the government of former premier Silvio Berlusconi in 2002.

"There are many reasons for changing this old law," said Ferrero. "One of them is the long time it takes to issue residency permits [...] The waiting period can be endless". The 2002 law has also been criticized for the fact that only foreigners with an Italian work contract are allowed a residency permit. Residency permits last just two years and if immigrants lose their job before the expiry date they are required to leave the country.

Ferrero said that one of the most important ideas under consideration was doubling the residency permit's two-year duration. "Part of the idea is to reduce the amount of work involved, which is pointless if the person applying for the permit is legal and has all the necessary prerequisites. "Increasing the length of the permit will reduce the number of requests that need to be dealt with".

Other legislative changes under discussion include the introduction of a single asylum law and a points-based entry system to encourage managed migration. Proposals are also being drawn up to grant certain immigrants the vote and make it easier for them to gain Italian citizenship. Meanwhile another major change, involving the way residency permits are issued, is in the process of being implemented. This transfers authority to grant residency permits from the hands of the police to the control of local municipal authorities.

Immigrants and Italian GDP Growth

Looking for something else I just stumbled across this:

Italy’s 3.6 foreign residents are an added asset to the country’s economy and their labours account for 6.1% of its GDP, some 86.7 billion euros in 2005, according to a new report.

Published Monday in the authoritative financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore, the report pointed out how Italy’s immigrants were responsible for “keeping the nation from suffering two heavy recessions in recent years”.

Without their contribution, Il Sole explained, “Italy’s GDP would have fallen by 0.1% in 2002, 0.6% in 2003 and 0.9% in 2005.

Almost 2.1 million immigrants hold regular jobs and they totally dominate the domestic services sector, accounting for 80% of the sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP to the tune of 9.6 billion euros.

Immigrants play an even bigger role in the services sector contributing 37 billion euros to the nation’s wealth, equal to 4.3% of the sector’s GDP.

According to the report, the contribution immigrants make to the economy has been growing constantly.

From 1993 to 2000, GDP rose 15.4% in real terms, but this would have been 13.5% without immigrants, Il Sole calculated.

In the following five years, GDP rose by 3.2% “of which 3.1% was thanks to the work of immigrants. This is equal to 96% of the increase,” the study concluded.

The data presented here is fascinating. The picture is pretty similar in Spain, although since Spain's population ex-immigration isn't actually falling all we can say is that Spain's economy has risen substantially more than it would. Any Il Sole reader (Paris??) out there know what the actually study they are referring to was, and where it is to be found?

I suppose I don't need to ram this point home, but it does rather confirm my argument that those countries with ageing populations who cannot attract immigrants will actually see GDP shrink at some stage.