June 19, 2018 / 11:27 AM / a month ago

Italy to stay on debt reduction path as growth labors: minister

ROME (Reuters) - Italy will try to reduce debt to preserve investors’ confidence in the highly indebted country, as the outlook for economic growth starts to slip, Economy Minister Giovanni Tria said on Tuesday.

Italian Economy Minister Giovanni Tria attends as Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (unseen) speaks during his first session at the Lower House of the Parliament in Rome, Italy, June 6, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Speaking in the lower house of parliament, Tria said “the confidence of financial markets is necessary” for Italy, whose debt amounts to around 1.3 times it annual economic output.

“In the interest of the country, it is the intention of the government to act to prevent any worsening of the public accounts,” Tria told lawmakers. “We must stay on the debt reduction path and above all we must avoid increasing debt to finance current spending.”

Output in the second quarter was similar to the first, Tria said, adding that the outlook for growth and, as a consequence, public accounts, was less favorable now than it had been a few months ago.

Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte; writing by Steve Scherer; editing by Crispian Balmer

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