ROME Italy's economic growth is likely to continue in the near term at the same modest pace seen over the last few quarters, national statistics bureau ISTAT said on Wednesday.
In its monthly economic note, ISTAT said its composite leading indicator "signals a continuation of the current rhythm of economic growth."
The euro zone's third largest economy grew 0.2 percent in the final quarter of last year, slowing from 0.3 percent in the previous three months.
This year the government of Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni sees growth of 1.0 percent, broadly in line with last year's 0.9 percent rate and leaving Italy in its customary position among the euro zone's most sluggish economies.
ISTAT's manufacturing confidence index rose to a 10-year high in March and a closely watched survey of purchasing managers in the manufacturing sector (PMI) hit a 6-year high.
Nonetheless, ISTAT said its latest leading indicator was still less positive than in the previous month.
(Reporting By Gavin Jones)