With a key indicator hitting the highest level since February 2008, Italian manufacturing firms showed greater confidence in January, the National Institute for Statistics (ISTAT) said on Jan. 31.
The indicator by the public research institute climbed to 103.6 points in January from 103.1 points in December, just beating forecasts of 103.5% by economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires.
Istat said the rise in confidence was due in particular to "an improvement in production expectations."
Business leaders were more optimistic than they had been in December about Italy's economic situation but slightly more negative about demand. Their confidence in stocks remained stable.
The capital goods index rose to 99.7 points from 99.1 points in December. In the semi-processed goods sector, the index rose to 107.5 points against 106.7 points, and the consumer goods index rose to 100.5 from 99.6 points.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011