Italy’s industrial production index returned to pre-COVID levels in April, official data showed on Thursday, in another sign of optimism for the eurozone’s third-largest economy. 

The seasonally adjusted index rose by 1.8 per cent month-on-month to 104.5 points in April, the fifth consecutive monthly increase, national statistics agency Istat said in a statement.

The seasonally adjusted production index index rose by 1.8 % month-on-month to 104.5 points in April, the fifth consecutive monthly increase- National statistics agency Istat

In February 2020, when Italy became the first European country to be hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the index stood at 103.3 points, crashing to 74.3 and 58.5 in the two following months. 

Italy is emerging from its worst recession since World War II. Last year, gross domestic product contracted by 8.9 per cent, one of the severest slumps in Europe. However, things have recently started to look up, with falling COVID death tolls, progress with vaccinations and gradual reopening of the economy. 

Last week, Istat said it expected GDP growth of 4.7 per cent this year and of 4.4 per cent in 2022, largely fuelled by domestic demand. 

Italy’s recovery hopes are linked to a massive €222.1 billion investment plan mostly funded by European Union loans and grants, covering the 2021-2026 period.

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