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Italy's manufacturing industry will return to growth in 2014

Italy's manufacturing industry will return to growth in 2014 after years of losses, Bologna-based Prometeia, one of Italy's leading economic think tanks, has estimated in a recent report.

Speaking at the Milan Foreign Press Association on Thursday, Prometeia senior economist Andrea Dossena said Italy's manufacturing sectors are expected to register a 1.5-percent increase in turnover this year compared to 2013.

In the period between 2015 and 2018, the country's manufacturing industry will post growth rates above 2 percent, the think tank has forecast.

Dossena said the Italian manufacturing industry has been estimated to recover 80 billion euros (108.9 billion U.S. dollars) in turnover over the five years from 2014 to 2018, after losing 180 billion euros between 2007 and 2013. Improved export performance and resumption of investments will drive the growth.

However, turnover of manufacturing industry will still be 11 percent lower in 2018 compared to 2007, when the global financial crisis broke, and will likely have to wait until after 2020 before returning to pre-crisis levels, the economist explained to Xinhua.

A series of measures recently introduced by the government of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, including an 80-euro (109-U.S. dollar) monthly bonus for low income earners, are expected to help revive domestic demand, Stefania Trenti, a senior economist at Italy's biggest bank Intesa Sanpaolo, which collaborated in the study, said.

She also noted that because of the economic crisis the Italian manufacturing system has gone through a decade of transformation which has reduced the size of turnover but has also strengthened its potential in terms of quality and human capital.

Though a real recovery was struggling to get under way in recession-hit Italy, recent healthy indicators including consumer confidence, manufacturing orders, production, imports and inflation have highlighted a slight improvement of the economy, Trenti said.