Italian consumer morale jumped to its highest level in 13 years in September, data showed, while manufacturing confidence climbed to its highest in four years. As Hayley Platt reports the surveys by national statistics institute ISTAT are good news for Italy's nascent economic recovery.
Bright, bold and bejeweled. Dolce and Gabanna's latest catwalk offering. The mood was similar outside Milan's Fashion Week shows. Consumer morale, often volatile in Italy, jumped in September to its highest level in 13 years. Surveys by the national statistics institute ISTAT also showed manufacturing confidence at a four year high And business moral - covering manufacturing, retail, construction and the services sectors - at its highest since 2007. IG's Chris Beauchamp. (SOUNDBITE) (English) Market Analyst, IG, CHRIS BEAUCHAMP, SAYING: "I don't think it makes Italy quite the poster child of the euro zone in terms of growth but it certainly does look better. What we've seen is some interesting divergencies coming across in the euro zone with Germany overall the indices looking weak but the underlying data better, whereas France the reverse is true, maybe Italy's falling into the former camp along side Germany can help to sort of offset weakness in places like France." Italy's economy is the euro zone's third largest. But it has been in the doldrums. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's economic reforms have struggled to make an impact It's seen virtually no growth since it joined the euro zone 16 years ago. It's performance is even worse than Greece. (SOUNDBITE) (English) Market Analyst, IG, CHRIS BEAUCHAMP, SAYING: "Matteo Renzi does have his work cut out for him still even after all this time. He started well and the markets are again prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt but they've certainly not turned a corner or not completely by any stretch of the imagination." Low inflation is still a big problem for many western economies. And it'll take more than a few positive surveys to prove Italy is firmly back on its feet.