Saturday, February 15, 2014

Italy's Slow Growth will Challege New Prime Minister Renzi

Matteo Renzi is poised to take over as Italy’s youngest-ever prime minister. He has a clear mandate to get the Italian economy back on track, but everyone, including Renzi himself, knows that he faces a daunting task. Here are two charts that show just how far Italy’s growth and living standards have slipped and how hard it will be to reverse the trends.
In terms of growth of real GDP, Italy has been at the bottom among the advanced economies of the OECD for a decade. In the following chart, Italy stands out not for having the slowest-growth in each given year, but rather, for the consistency of its slow growth. Before the global crisis, there were years when Japan or Germany grew more slowly than Italy, but both of those have recovered more strongly. After the crisis, Greece has grown even more slowly, and Spain almost as slowly, but both of those were coming off strong-pre-recession booms. Among OECD countries, only Portugal (not included in the chart) equaled Italy’s average growth rate since 2000 of just 0.3 percent.
But, you might say, isn’t Italy wealthy enough to coast for a while and still maintain a high standard of living? That is true, to a degree.>>>Read more