The economy in the south of Italy slows down
The Confindustria and SRM-Studi e Ricerche Report has been presented.
In the early months of 2019, the South reduced its driving force in the economy, and the signs of a slowdown, already visible at the end of 2018, risked becoming real setbacks. This is revealed by the traditional interim "Checkup Mezzogiorno" report presented by Confindustria and SRM-Studi e Ricerche sul Mezzogiorno (Intesa Sanpaolo Group Research Centre).
The synthetic index of the southern economy, drawn up by Confindustria and SRM, continues its rise compared to 2017, albeit at an increasingly slow pace. All the indicators that break it down (GDP, employment, investments, active companies, exports) point to a small improvement, which is however becoming ever more subtle.
the annual analysis conduced by Confindustria and SRM-Studi e Ricerche sul Mezzogiorno reccomands making the company the focus of public polices
Gross fixed investments are stagnating and GDP is slowing down, which in 2018, according to preliminary ISTAT estimates, showed growth of 0.4%, less than half the national average. Productivity in the South is on average around ¼ less than in the Centre-North.
The number of companies has stopped growing, a figure which in the first few months of 2019 is standing still at below 1.7 million euro. On the credit front, bad loans fell in 2018, but the total level of loans is declining in the 4th quarter of 2018: 14 billion euro less disbursed to southern families and businesses. In the first quarter of 2019, the days of delay in payments among companies are once again on the increase, and so are the bankruptcies and voluntary liquidations in the entire 2018.
The limited contribution of public investments weighs on the situation. With regard to employment, the year began with a further decline compared to the previous months, with the number of employees below 6 million. The unemployed come to 1.5 million and the number of people classified as inactive is even higher. Youth unemployment is particularly high, reaching a record 51.9%.
After a positive 2018, exports show a halt in the first months of 2019, despite the good performances achieved by the pharmaceutical and tourism sectors (incoming foreign tourists). On the contrary, the domestic market continues to bear the brunt and the gap in terms of purchasing power remains high: per capita consumption in the South is 800 euro lower than in Central Northern Italy.
In short, the pace of southern economy has become increasingly slower. "A new business-centred policy" - concludes the report - "may be the revolution that the South needs": starting, with a view to promoting investments, from the rapid start-up of Special Economic Zones and the return of the tax credit.