Italy economy weathering coronavirus better than expected - minister

ROME, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri said on Friday that Italy’s economy has held up better than expected in the face of the coronavirus and the third quarter would show “a very strong rebound” in growth.

In the second quarter Italian gross domestic product shrank by 12.4% from the previous three months, national statistics bureau ISTAT reported last month, the steepest drop on record but less severe than forecast.

Speaking by video-link at a conference in Rimini, Gualtieri said recent Italian data had been consistently better than consensus forecasts, and he believed the conditions were in place for “positive surprises.”

He said it now looked as though Italy could end the year with GDP “not far from our original forecast,” an apparent reference to the government’s most recent official projection of an 8% GDP drop.

That is a smaller contraction than forecast by the Bank of Italy and international institutions, and Gualtieri had recently said that it would probably have to be revised down. (Reporting By Gavin Jones; editing by Angelo Amante)