|Cons. Conf. Level||110.5||108.2||110.9||110.7|
|Bus. Conf. Level||103.7||102.1||103.0|
|Mfg. Conf. Level||104.1||103.7|
Overall business sentiment unexpectedly deteriorated slightly this month according to Istat's latest survey. At 102.1 the headline index was down 0.9 points versus its unrevised March reading.
Consumer morale dropped 2.5 points to 108.2, its first decline of the year but still 0.6 points above its February level. The fall reflected small reversals in all components but buying intentions at least held broadly stable after a sharp improvement in March and there was a promising rise in year-ahead inflation expectations.
Confidence in manufacturing edged up 0.4 points to 104.1 and retail gained nearly 2 points to 105.9. However, construction posted a 2.7 point fall to 113.3 and services a 3.7 point slide to 104.4.
Today's results paint a mixed picture of Italian economic activity this month but on balance suggest that the April PMIs will struggle to hold onto their respective March levels.
Note that today's release was delayed by industrial action at Istat.
Istat's business and consumer confidence surveys are conducted over the first fifteen and ten working days of each reference month respectively and provide information about current and expected developments in key sector variables. The largely qualitative results are synthesized for each survey into a single number that provides an overall measure of sentiment. Business confidence reflects the combined results of separate surveys covering manufacturing, retail, construction and services.
If investors want to know how the business or consumer sectors are performing as they evaluate their investment decisions, they can find timely and in depth information in the latest Istat surveys. Although short-term swings can be erratic, changes in trends in confidence can contain very useful information about a sector's underlying health well in advance of the release of the official data. Moreover, by including some forward-looking components (e.g. manufacturing orders or consumer buying intentions) the Istat surveys can also provide a potential insight into prospective developments.
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