June 7, 2018 / 9:32 AM / 10 months ago

Italy statistics office sees economy slowing in coming months

FILE PHOTO: Duomo's cathedral and Porta Nuova's financial district are seen in Milan, Italy, May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

ROME (Reuters) - Italian economic growth is likely to weaken in coming months, national statistics office ISTAT said on Thursday.

In its monthly economic bulletin, ISTAT said its latest composite leading indicator had continued the downward trend seen so far this year, “suggesting a slowdown in growth.”

Gross domestic product (GDP) rose a quarterly 0.3 percent in the first quarter, data showed last week, slowing from 0.4 percent in the last three months of 2017. The annual growth rate of 1.4 percent was the slowest since the first quarter of 2017.

Retail sales in April fell for the fourth time in five months and posted their steepest annual drop for more than five years, data showed earlier on Thursday.

Italy forecast in April that GDP would increase 1.5 percent in 2018. That would be in line with last year’s rate which was the strongest since 2010, but would leave Italy in its customary position among the euro zone’s most sluggish economies.

Some economists are already beginning to lower their forecasts for Italy in the light of recent soft data.

Reporting By Gavin Jones

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