ROME, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- Economic growth in Italy was stronger than expected last year, at 3.9 percent, according to official data released Tuesday.
The data from Italy's National Statistics Institute (ISTAT) provides the first full-year picture of the country's economic performance last year, a period blighted by high inflation, energy shortages, and trade problems sparked by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Although the 3.9-percent growth rate for the full year beats the forecast in the Italian government's 2022-23 economic blueprint, the 0.1 percent contraction in the fourth quarter of 2022 broke a trend of seven consecutive quarters of positive economic growth, ISTAT said.
This means that if the economy shrinks again this quarter, as widely anticipated, Italy will enter into a recession, which is defined by back-to-back quarters of negative growth.
However, despite the contraction over the last three months of the year, Italy's economy was still 1.7 percent larger than during the same period a year earlier.