Italian economy shrinks further: official data

The Italian economy did worse than thought in the first quarter of this year, shrinking by 0.6 percent instead of by 0.5 percent estimated previously, official data showed on Monday.

The figures paint a grim picture for the state of the Italian economy, the third-biggest in the eurozone, marking the seventh quarterly contraction in a row.

However, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said on Monday that its indices of leading indicators pointed to "positive change" in the Italian economy.

The first-quarter figure provided by the Italian statistics institute Istat was by comparison with output in the last quarter of last year.

And on a 12-month comparison output slumped by 2.4 percent, also worse than an earlier estimate of minus 2.3 percent.

The last forecast by the Italian government for growth of the economy this year was issued before the arrival of the new government under Prime Minister Enrico Letta at the end of April.

That forecast was for the economy to shrink by 1.3 percent this year and then growing by 1.3 percent in 2014.

In the first quarter, all the drivers of demand fell: internal consumption fell by 0.3 percent, fixed investment by 3.3 percent and exports by 1.9 percent.