World Bank head sees Italian economy growing 1 pct this year

World Bank head sees Italian economy growing 1 pct this year
World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim looks on during the 2015 Global Parliamentary Conference at World Bank Headquarters in Washington, DC on April 13, 2015.

ROME - Italy's long-stagnant economy should grow by at least 1 per cent in 2015, the World Bank president said in an interview published on Tuesday, forecasting stronger growth than other observers. "We expect growth of 1 per cent ...and this could get better if the country takes initiatives that increase investor confidence," Jim Yong Kim told Italian newspaper La Stampa.

He said commitments by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to reform the labour market were encouraging but needed to be implemented.

The Italian government set out a 0.7 per cent growth target for 2015 in a three-year budget plan unveiled last week, nudging up a 0.6 forecast made last year.

The European Commission and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development have forecast growth of 0.6 per cent.

Italy has been struggling to emerge from its longest recession since World War Two and the economy has shrunk for the past three years.

The World Bank carried out a study of the Italian business environment, Kim said, and found that action could be taken to reduce marked differences between the ease of doing business in different parts of the country, which is divided between an industrialised north and a poorer south.

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