ROME Italy's economy shows signs of improving in the coming months, national statistics bureau ISTAT said on Tuesday, highlighting a modest pick-up in the manufacturing sector.
In its monthly economic bulletin, ISTAT said Italy was likely to maintain its current overall growth rate, which Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said last week had probably exceeded the official forecast of 0.8 percent in 2016.
"A recovery in the manufacturing sector is strengthening, suggesting improvement in families' purchasing power and an increase in investments," ISTAT said.
Industrial output rose more than expected in November, the last month for which data is available, suggesting economic growth continued in the final quarter of last year.
Closely correlated with gross domestic product (GDP), industrial output fell by around a quarter between 2008 and 2014 and has recovered only a small part of that over the last year.
Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni's government targets 1.0 percent growth in 2017.
(Reporting by Isla Binnie Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)