Italy’s new economic minister expects 2012 GDP fall “little less” than 2 percent.

Italy’s GDP is expected to shrink “a little less” than 2 percent, the country’s new economy minister Vittorio Grilli said in a newspaper interview published on Sunday.

Grilli, who took over the economy portfolio from Prime Minister Mario Monti on Wednesday, made his comments in a long interview with the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

The Bank of Italy governor has forecast that the economy will shrink by 2.0 percent and employers’ lobby Confindustria has forecast a contraction of more than 2.4 percent.

Optimistic Politicians

Given that politicians are nearly always overly-optimistic in such forecasts, look for a collapse in GDP closer to 3% than 2%.

Italy Loan Moratorium for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
 
Please note that things are so bad that Italian Loan Moratorium Approved.

Small and medium-size Italian companies will be permitted to suspend payments on 3.6 billion euros ($4.4 billion) of debt for as long as a year, the Finance Ministry of Italy said on Saturday.

Since a loan moratorium began on March 1, Italian companies have made 16,000 applications to postpone 5.5 billion euros of payments, the ministry said. About 10,000 applications were processed through May, and the rest are being addressed.

The nation’s business associations and the Italian Banking Association agreed this year to extend an earlier moratorium to cope with the country’s fourth recession since 2001. The previous moratorium, begun in August 2009, allowed 260,000 companies to delay 15 billion euros of payments, the association said in February.

This moratorium is nothing more than an attempt to keep bankrupt and underperforming businesses alive. In a free market, uncompetitive businesses should fail. Thus, the moratorium is a mistake.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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