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.
Bank expects Turkey's strong growth performance to continue in Q3, World Bank Country Director for Turkey says
Industrial production marks first increase in three months, while manufacturing production comes below market expectations
While optimism remains over the world economy and corporate earnings -- helping push global markets to all-time or multi-month highs -- investors moved carefully as they await the next catalyst.
BIST 100 index rises 1.18 pct while US dollar/Turkish lira rate stands over 3.63
BIST 100 index falls 0.24 pct while US dollar/Turkish lira rate climbs to 3.69
National Bank of Ethiopia says devaluation of its currency necessary to boost exports
In its latest forecast, the IMF predicted the Russian economy will expand by 1.8 percent in 2017 and by 1.6 percent in 2018.
Nobel committee says US economist was awarded for his contributions to behavioral economics
BIST 100 index falls over 3.5 pct while dollar/Turkish lira rate climbs to 3.68
Hong Kong's main stocks index hit a 10-year high after another record overnight close on Wall Street following more buoyant US data and hopes for tax reform, which has also boosted the dollar.
Russia spends about 4.5 percent of GDP annually on improvements to infrastructure, says energy minister
S&P closes at all-time high for sixth straight day -- a first since 1997
Food Price Index rose by 4.3 pct year-on-year due to higher vegetable oil, dairy prices: Food and Agriculture Organization