Italy Business Confidence Index Falls in December


Italy's business confidence index fell this month following a tough Christmas season for retailers, the official data agency Istat said in a statement on Thursday.

The index was at 92.5 points compared to 94 points last month, Istat said, adding that the declines was due to concern among business owners on the forecasts for production and future orders.

The index -- which was at 103.8 in January of this year -- had risen slightly in November from 93.9 in October.

Confidence fell particularly steeply in the construction and retail sectors but rose slightly for investment businesses.

Prime Minister Mario Monti has helped ease fears of an imminent debt blow-up but his tough austerity measures have raised concern about the impact on an economy already on its way to recession.