Italy's economy tipped into recession at the end of last year, according to latest figures. In the final three months of 2018, the economy shrank by 0.2%, following a 0.1% decline in the third quarter, the Istat statistics office said. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the contraction was likely to continue into 2019.
An earthquake with a magnitude of 4.8 hit an area north of Catania on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily early on Wednesday, damaging buildings and injuring about 30 people, officials said.
A rise in hotel and cruise bookings has helped European travel group Tui sail through another year with more than 10% growth in profits. It said next year, profits would grow a similar amount as customers also bought more excursions and holiday activities. Tui has seen double-digit growth for the last four years.
United States President Donald Trump jets into Argentina on Thursday for a G20 summit, keen to do battle with China on trade and sharpening his rhetoric against Russia over Ukraine. The weekend summit is confronted with increasingly dire warnings, by the International Monetary Fund among others, of the potential harm faced by the world economy from Trump's trade wars.
Italy's government says it will stick to its high-spending budget plans, setting up a potential stand-off with the European Union over its deficit. PM Giuseppe Conte, who held talks with deputies Matteo Salvini and Luigi Di Maio on Monday, said the objectives for 2019 had already been fixed.
The Italian government has defied the European Commission by sticking to its big-spending budget plan. Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said a deficit target of 2.4% and a growth forecast of 1.5% were unchanged.
Standard & Poor’s on Friday left Italy’s sovereign debt rating unchanged but lowered its outlook to negative from stable, saying that the new government’s policy plans were weighing on the country’s growth and debt prospects.
The European Commission has told Italy to revise its budget, an unprecedented move with regard to an EU member state. EC is worried about the impact of higher spending on already high levels of debt in Italy, the Euro zone's third-biggest economy.
The right-wing League has won control of the northern Italian province of Trento, ousting the center-left coalitions that have ruled for decades, in the latest breakthrough by the anti-immigrant party.
Moody's has cut Italy's credit rating by a notch over concerns about plans for larger deficits and the high public debt load as the country's populist government clashes with Brussels over its budget. The European Commission formally warned Italy late Thursday that its budget plans for 2019 are a serious concern, launching a high-stakes process that could see Rome hit with unprecedented sanctions for breaking commitments to Brussels.