World Bulletin / News Desk
Italy's national statistics body ISTAT threatened on Thursday to cease issuing data on the economy, saying it had been crippled by government spending cuts aimed at reducing national debt and righting public finances.
The euro zone's third biggest economy, whose statistics are closely watched as the country's huge state debts put it at the center of the bloc's financial crisis, would face stiff European Union fines if the flow of data is cut off, ISTAT President Enrico Giovannini was quoted as saying.
"Spending cuts are putting ISTAT at risk. From January onwards we will not issue any statistics," Giovannini told daily La Repubblica in an interview.
Prime Minister Mario Monti's government has unveiled plans to cut public spending by 4.4 billion euros in 2012, 10.6 billion euros in 2013 and over 11 billion euros in 2014, to be mainly achieved through a planned 10 percent reduction of public administration staff.
Planned government cuts would reduce financing to ISTAT to 150-160 million euros by 2013 from 176 million euros currently, Giovannini said. He said that was half what is set aside for national statistics in France and one-third of what available in Nordic countries.
Giovannini called the planned cuts "unsustainable".
He said ISTAT produces 300 sets of data a year, up 25 percent from two years ago and 2,000 smaller reports.
Seventy percent of ISTAT's output is aimed at meeting obligations with the EU.
"We will not issue data on inflation, deficit, household income, job data. That will trigger very high EU fines for our country for every day of delay," Giovannini said. "I do not think the government and the parliament will want to get to that point."
The government could finetune its planned spending cuts when it discusses the new budget law in the autumn.
Some ISTAT data releases have been disrupted or delayed in recent weeks by a group of staff members protesting the fact that a promotion they won two years ago has not yet been recognized. Many ISTAT employees are on temporary contracts and would be easier to lay off than permanent staff.
BIST 100 falls 0.50 percent; US dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate stands at 4.7560
Treasury reports central government debt stock in April rises 15.8 pct year-on-year, reaching $226.8 billion
Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom spoke ahead of talks of the EU's 28 trade ministers to discuss an attempt to woo the US away from punishing steel and aluminium tariffs and win Europe a similar break as handed China.
BIST 100 rises 0.45 percent; US dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate stands at 4.5760
Sberbank of Russia will cease to be shareholder in Denizbank, fifth-largest private bank in Turkey
Assets abroad up 1.1 percent March 2018 end, from end of 2017, says Turkish Central Bank
BIST 100 falls 0.24 pct; US dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate stands at 4.5500
His comments came after a joint statement issued in Washington said Beijing had agreed to reduce its trade deficit, "significantly" increasing purchases of American goods.
Euro area goods trade surplus reaches over $60B, EU28 deficit at $7.5B, official figures show
Property sales in April down 9.9 pct year-on-year, according to official data; sales to foreigners surge 25.8 pct
European stock markets meanwhile rose as the euro weakened against the dollar, but Wall Street pulled back in early New York trading.
BIST 100 climbs 0.44 pct; foreign currency exchange rates rise against lira
Banks' total assets reach over $42 billion as of March
Industrial output jumps 9.8 percent in Q1 and 7.6 percent in March year-on-year, official figures show