Perhaps the most important challenge is to make growth equitable, sustainable, lasting, structural, at higher growth rates than those before the pandemic, which were very low and caused recurrent crises, which lasted many years. 

Prime Minister Mario Draghi, during the press conference following the approval of the Update to the Economic and Financial Document (Italian acronym – DEF). 


 The debate of ideas 

Prometeia - September 2021 Forecast Report: despite some optimism, the coming months will be a testing ground for the Italian economy  

After GDP growth in the second quarter (+ 2.7% compared to the previous one) and the summer performance of the economic indicators, "the hypothesis that our country could grow at a rate close to or above 6% this year and surpass our main European partners, is becoming a reality". The Prometeia department research suggests this forecast in its September report, highlighting the positive choice to focus on the vaccination campaign, the growth of Italian manufacturing exports and public finances. Here to learn more. 

Studies, research and numbers 


Istat, trade balance down to 1,583 million 

According to Istat estimates, in August 2021, exports to non-EU countries decreased by 5% compared to July and increased by 15.7% compared to August 2020. On the other hand, imports increased by 6.5% and 39.9%, respectively. In August 2021, the trade balance recorded a surplus of 1.583 million, down compared to August 2020 (+3.581). The trade surplus decreased also for non-energy products (+4.719 million compared to +5.231 million in August 2020). On an annual basis, energy exports grew by 80.6% while energy imports by + 88.5%. Istat explains that the economic downturn in exports to non-EU countries in August is conditioned by the occasional high-impact operations (shipbuilding) recorded in the previous month; net of these, the export increase is estimated at 5.5%. Here the note by Istat. 

Bankitalia: Tourism turnover down by 40%, tourists decreased by over 50%, foreigners by 70% 

In 2020, the pandemic caused an intense decrease in tourist flows throughout the national territory. Tourists decreased by 52.3%, and the decline affected both the domestic component (-33.8%) and, to a greater extent, the foreign component (-70.3%), which in 2019 represented half of the arrivals. Tourism is doubtless one of the sectors most affected by the epidemic. According to the data provided by the Bank of Italy in the Note "The tourism sector and the Covid-19 pandemic", the health emergency impact on tourism caused a drastic decline in turnover and profitability. The report shows that the joint-stock companies operating in the accommodation, catering and entertainment sectors suffered a turnover contraction of 40% in 2020, about four times the reduction recorded by the average companies (11 %). Here to learn more. 

Istat: production prices on the rise in August 

Industrial producer prices rose in August (+ 0.5%), mainly driven by intermediate goods. Istat highlights that, on an annual basis, prices continue to speed up (+ 11.6%, from + 11.2% in July), increasing in almost all economic sectors. According to Istat estimates, on the domestic market prices rose by 0.4% compared to July and by 13.8% on an annual basis. The domestic market recorded an increase of 0.6% (+ 0.7% in the euro area, + 0.6% in the non-euro area) on a monthly basis and 6.4% (+ 7.1% euro area, + 5.8% non-euro area) on an annual basis. Here the note by Istat. 

Economic sentiment stable in the EU and the euro area 

According to the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs of the European Community (DG ECFIN), in September 2021, the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) remained unchanged in the EU (at 116.6) and broadly stable also in the euro area (+0.2 points to 117.8). In the Eurozone, consumer confidence decreased to -5.2 from -6.3, in the industry remained stable at +12.1 points, in services decreased to +15, 4 from +16.8 points, and in the retail trade to +2.3 from +5.1 points, in financial services dropped to +25.3, while in construction, confidence reached + 5.5 from 3.7 points. Here to learn more. 

Istat: in August employment fell, but from January increased by 430 thousand units; unemployment remained stable at 9.3%, among young people at 27.3% 

In August, the number of employed people decreased by 80 thousand units compared to July, while remaining positive (+ 162 thousand) compared to August 2020. The labour market balance has remained largely positive since the beginning of the year, increasing by 430 thousand units between August and January. However, the number of employed people is lower by 390 thousand units than pre-pandemic levels (February 2020). Moreover, Istat highlights that the monthly decline affects men and mainly women, employees and self-employed persons, and all age classes. In August, the unemployment rate remained stable at 9.3%, in line with July and down by 0.7 points compared to August 2020. It is also stable among young people (27.3%) compared to July. Here the note by Istat. 

Censis Confcooperative: over 233 thousand profiles are missing 

The economy is recovering, companies want to hire, but over 233 thousand professional profiles are missing. The gap between demand and offer on the labour market costs Italy over 21 billion, equal to 1.2% of GDP. These data emerge from the Censis-Confcooperative focus " Mismatch, il grande gap da sanare. La ripresa c'è, i lavoratori no.” According to the report, if companies had hired all the staff they needed, GDP growth in 2021 would have risen from 5.9% to 7.1%. Here to learn more. 

Istat: inflation at + 2.6% in September on annual basis. 

In September 2021, the national consumer price index for the whole nation (NIC), including tobacco, recorded a decrease of 0.1% on a monthly basis and an increase of 2.6% on an annual basis (2.0% in the previous month). Inflation continues to speed up, reaching the highest level since October 2012. Istat preliminary estimates on inflation highlighted that "even the prices of grocery and unprocessed food are speeding up, but the increase remains much lower than the entire basket." Core inflation (excluding energy and unprocessed food) was 1.1% (from +0.6% in the previous month) and inflation excluding energy was +1.2% (from +0.5% in August). Here the Note by Istat. 

The Bank of Italy: € -coin falls in September. 

The Bank of Italy announced that € -coin fell in September (0.75 from 0.98 in August). According to its monthly € -coin update, the decline of the indicator mainly reflects a softening in business confidence, although confidence remains at high levels. The € -coin indicator developed by the Bank of Italy provides a summary index of the current economic situation in the euro area. It is an estimation of the quarterly GDP growth rate shorn of the most erratic components (seasonal variations, measurement errors and short-run volatility). Here the Note by the Bank of Italy. 

Less cash and more credit cards thanks to online commerce 

The Credit Cards and Digital Payments Observatory coordinated by Assofin, Nomisma and Ipsos, in collaboration with Crif, recorded an increasing number of transactions (+ 6.3%) made by credit cards in the first half of 2021, compared to the same pre-Covid period. On the contrary, "bank transfers" did not recover the levels recorded in 2019 (-9.6%). According to the Observatory, the volume of instalment payments by cards is still decreasing (-16.7% in the 1st half of 2021/19) due to the uncertainty on the recovery and the diffusion of alternative digital payment tools, particularly for e-commerce, which increases the incidence of online transactions that reached 22% of total transactions by both credit or charge cards in the first six months of 2021. Here to learn more. 

The voice of Stakeholders 


Unimpresa: in the first half of the year businesses and professionals' turnover up by +253 billion  

The turnover of companies and professionals increased by 253 billion euros (+ 21%) in the first half of this year compared to the same period of 2020. According to an analysis carried out by Unimpresa Study Centre on companies’ and professionals’ fiscal data, in the first half of 2021, professionals recorded an increase in turnover of 15.4 billion (+ 24%) and companies of 237.5 billion (+ 21%). The growth is driven by the recovery of manufacturing activities (+ 31.1%) and above all by the real estate sector: construction (+ 36%) and other real estate activities (20%) recorded the most significant growth. Friuli-Venezia Giulia (+ 31.9%), followed by Calabria and Sicily (both with + 21.9%), showed the most significant increases at the territorial level. Lazio was the only region recording a decrease (-0.8%). Here for further information. 

Confesercenti: new businesses down by 75 thousand units in 18 months 

The pandemic has caused a sharp fall in the number of new businesses. According to a Confesercenti elaboration based on data from the Chambers of Commerce, between 2020 and the first six months of 2021, new businesses fell by 13.3% compared to the pre-covid period. The crisis caused the failure of 75 thousand new enterprises. This collapse affected all economic sectors: 25 thousand firms are missing in wholesale and retail trade, accommodation, catering, travel services, tour operators and car rental. Manufacturing lost almost 6 thousand firms, construction three thousand. Geographically, the decrease in new businesses affects all regions, but Liguria with -18.4%, Umbria with -17.3% and Molise with -16.4% suffered the most severe reductions. Here to learn more. 

Confcommercio: GDP up by 5.9% in 2021, 4.3% in 2022 

The recovery of the Italian economy is more intense than expected. Still, the post-pandemic rebound alone is not sufficient to guarantee robust, widespread, and lasting growth prospects. The structural weaknesses of our economy, in particular excessive taxation and bureaucracy and gaps in infrastructure, education, and justice, weigh on the slow long-term growth and the current phase of economic expansion.  In this scenario, the macroeconomic forecasts for 2021 are + 5.9% for GDP, + 4.9% for consumption and +1.3 million units for employment, while for 2022 + 4.3%, +3, 5%, and + 965 thousand, respectively. These data are reported in the " Note sulla condizione economica dell’Italia dopo la pandemia (Notes on Italy’s economic condition after the pandemic)" released by Confcommercio during the annual meeting. Here the note by Confcommercio. 

Confartigianato: in 2021, food sector production at a record high thanks to the contribution of 51 thousand SMEs. High commodities prices (+ 29.8%) concern. 

In the first seven months of 2021, manufacturing production rose by 19.4% compared to the previous year and is approaching pre-crisis levels, marking -2.2% compared to the first seven months of 2019. Italy is recovering more quickly than France (-6.5%) and Germany (-6.7%). Thanks to the positive boost recorded during the pandemic, food and beverage production recorded the best performance since 1990, the beginning of the historical series. The increase of 1.1% in food production in Italy represents a better performance than in France (+ 0.5%), while the sector is lagging in Germany (-0.8%) and Spain (-3, 5%). In parallel, in the first six months of 2021, Italian exports rose by 4.1% compared to the corresponding period of 2019, exceeding the increase of 1.2% recorded in German exports. Confartigianato provides these data in the sectoral analysis "Dentro la ripresa, tra rimbalzi e incertezze. Prospettive d’autunno per le MPI (Inside the recovery, between rebounds and uncertainties. Autumn prospects for SMEs). Here a detailed article. 

Confartigianato: SMEs drive the labour demand, with 66.7% of new jobs in the first half of 2021 

Despite the difficulties of self-employment persist, micro and small enterprises remain protagonists in the labour demand. According to the analysis carried out by Confartigianato on the data provided by the Ministry of Labour, Anpal, Istat, Inps and Inail, in the first half of 2021, micro and small enterprises with less than 50 employees (in which 50.5% of employees work), represented 66.7% of jobs, based on the balance between new hirings and terminations. Confartigianato explains that the analysis of data by the Unioncamere-Anpal Excelsior system also confirmed this trend. 62.5% of the expected revenues between September and November 2021 derive from micro and small enterprises. Here to learn more.

Innovation in Italy digital content up by 21% in one year, a market worth 3 billion euros 

The market of the B2c distribution of digital content continues to grow in Italy. On the one hand, in 2021, Italian consumers will spend up to 3 billion euros in subscriptions and/or single purchases, 21% more than 2020 (when spending had already increased by 39%). On the other, after the slowdown caused by the pandemic (-2%), investments in advertising (+ 9%) in digital content and distribution platforms returned to grow in 2021, exceeding 1 billion euros. This scenario emerges from the "Digital News & Ebook" report, produced by the Digital Content Observatory of the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano. According to the report, music represents the most digitally advanced content and will exceed 200 million euros in 2021, up by 31% compared to 2020, with 76% of consumers in 2021, compared to 68% in 2020. Here to learn more. 

The value of Open Source for an independent and competitive digital Europe 

The European Commission has published the results of a study analysing the economic impact of open-source software and hardware on the EU economy. According to the study, EU companies invested around 1 billion euros in open-source software in 2018, with a positive impact on the economy estimated at 65 and 95 billion. The analysis predicts that an increase 10% in contributions in open-source software code would annually generate an additional 0.4% and 0.6% GDP and more than 600 additional ICT startups in the EU. The European Commission promotes public policies on open source. It focuses on strategic initiatives, such as Developers Italia, to further encourage the industrial development of this sector and the dissemination of skills in the public sector. Here and here to learn more. 

Fondazione Italia Digitale: 3 Italians out of 4 consider digital an opportunity, 73% say yes to smart working 

3 out of 4 Italians think that the digital transformation will give our country more opportunities than risks. This issue is analysed in the study on digitization and interaction between public administration and citizens by Fondazione Italia Digitale. According to the analysis, 74% of over 55s consider digital technology an opportunity, while only 13% of Italians over 55 consider it a risk. In the "ranking" of the digital channels used by Italians to access public services, 61% prefer websites and apps. Here to learn more. 

Smart city, the "Eur agreement" to push innovation in Italy. 

New ideas for smart cities: the change, from networks to buildings, comes from software and technologies saving consumption. Digital innovation is not only a technological issue. It manages information systems or infrastructures that connect people, sensors, or machines, creating a new idea of a society where digital is a fundamental pillar with sustainable development and social and gender inclusion. In this context, "Sustainable Places" will be held in Rome-Eur. 250 researchers, 1500 research organizations and universities from all over Europe involved in over 150 projects for a value of 876 million under Horizon 2020 will attend the three-day event. Here to learn more. 

Estimates for Italian robotics revised upward, but the chip crisis gives rise to concerns 

"Centro Studi & Cultura di Impresa di Ucimu-Sistemi per produrre" revised upward the 2021 forecasts relating to the Italian machine tool, robot, and automation manufacturing industry. The sector will grow by 22% up to 6.3 billion euros thanks to the excellent performance of deliveries by Italian manufacturers and exports reaching a value of 3.4 billion, 19% more than 2020. According to Ucimu's elaboration of Istat data, in the first six months of 2021 (latest data available), the main import countries for the Italian machine tool offer were: Germany (+ 64.4%), United States (+ 8.7%), China (-16.5% ), Poland (+ 77.8%) and France (+ 1.6%). Here to learn more. 

Gender equity 


Women's equality festival: gender equality at the centre of the political agenda 

Gender equality is the theme of the first national event entirely dedicated to women's empowerment that will take place in Lecce. "We -Women's Equality Festival" is the title of the kermesse scheduled from 1 to 3 October at the Apollo Theatre. The event aims to bring the theme of gender equality back to the centre of the public debate, emphasizing the fieldwork of numerous national associations and organizations. Several problems, such as employment, economy, health, culture, and social issues, will be widely discussed thanks to the contribution of companies and associations that have always been committed to diversity & inclusion and gender equality.  Here for more information.

Local Authorities 


NRRP: The Minister of Sustainable Infrastructures and Mobility signed six decrees for 1.9 billion of the complementary plan. 

The Minister of Sustainable Infrastructures and Mobility (Italian acronym MIMS), Enrico Giovannini, signed six decrees allocating additional 1.9 billion euros of the NRRP complementary plan. One billion euros to strengthen the technological monitoring and safety of the A24 and A25 highways (Rome-Pescara and Rome-Teramo), 720 million to favour green navigation, and 200 million to renew railway infrastructures and rolling stock for freight transport. The Ministry has already allocated 74% of the resources for 45.4 billion to the implementing bodies. Here the press release by MIT and here the updates on the "Giornale dei Comuni." 

The world of MEF 


MEF: the guidelines for "talia Domani" are now online 

The Ministry of Economy and Finance published the guidelines for "Italia Domani", the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, to offer an overview of the structural reforms and investments approved by the Government and by the European Commission to boost the country's economy after the pandemic crisis and achieve greater environmental sustainability. Mef illustrated the key objectives and resources for our country within the "Next Generation Eu" initiative, from the schedule to governance, from the implementation procedures to the role of administrations.  The overview highlighted the six missions, the six priority areas of intervention, and the reforms envisaged in the Plan. Here and here to learn more. 

OECD, Tax Administration 2021: Tax administrations continue to accelerate their digital transformation 

Tax Administration 2021 is the ninth edition of the OECD Report in the series dedicated to tax administration. It provides internationally comparative data on aspects of tax systems and their administration in 59 advanced economies. According to the latest edition, tax administrations are investing significant resources in digital transformation to improve and provide digital services, which proved invaluable during the Covid-19 crisis. Here to learn more.