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Italy's consumer confidence grows

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In a report released this week by Rome's Isae Institute (Institute for Studies and Economic Analyses) and reported on by Bloomberg, Italian consumer confidence unexpectedly rose in April due to increased optimism about the outlook for jobs. The improvement was "due to a more favorable view of the labor market, which is corroborated both by the state of family budgets and intentions to purchase durable goods," Isae said.

The Isae Institute's consumer confidence index climbed to 107.9 from 106.3 in March, the lowest since June, the Italian research center said today in an e-mailed statement. With companies such as Fiat SpA, Italy's biggest manufacturer, cutting jobs, unemployment has weighed on consumer spending, which contracted 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter, Bloomberg News reported.

Spending could take as much as five years to return to pre-recession level, retailers' lobby Confcommercio said last month, Bloomberg reported.