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    • Overview:
      Since World War II the Italian economy has changed from one based on agriculture into a ranking industrial economy, with approximately the same total and per capita output as France and the UK. The country is still divided into a developed industrial north, dominated by private companies, and an undeveloped agricultural south, dominated by large public enterprises. Services account for 48% of GDP, industry 35%, agriculture 4%, and public administration 13%. Most raw materials needed by industry and over 75% of energy requirements must be imported. After growing at an average annual rate of 3% in 1983-90, growth slowed to about 1% in 1991 and 1992, fell by 0.7% in 1993, and recovered to 2% in 1994. In the second half of 1992, Rome became unsettled by the prospect of not qualifying to participate in EU plans for economic and monetary union later in the decade; thus it finally began to address its huge fiscal imbalances. Subsequently, the government has adopted fairly stringent budgets, abandoned its highly inflationary wage indexation system, and started to scale back its extremely generous social welfare programs, including pension and health care benefits. Monetary officials were forced to withdraw the lira from the European monetary system in September 1992 when it came under extreme pressure in currency markets. For the 1990s, Italy faces the problems of pushing ahead with fiscal reform, refurbishing a tottering communications system, curbing pollution in major industrial centers, and adjusting to the new competitive forces accompanying the ongoing expansion and economic integration of the European Union.

    • National product:
      GDP - purchasing power parity - $998.9 billion (1994 est.)

    • National product real growth rate:
      2.2% (1994 est.)

    • National product per capita:
      $17,180 (1994 est.)

    • Inflation rate (consumer prices):
      3.9% (1994)

    • Unemployment rate:
      12.2% (January 1995)

    • Budget:

        $339 billion

        $431 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1994 est.)

    • Exports:
      $190.8 billion (f.o.b., 1994)

        metals, textiles and clothing, production machinery, motor vehicles, transportation equipment, chemicals, other

        EU 53.4%, US 7.8%, OPEC 3.8% (1994)

    • Imports:
      $168.7 billion (c.i.f., 1994)

        industrial machinery, chemicals, transport equipment, petroleum, metals, food, agricultural products

        EU 56.3%, OPEC 5.3%, US 4.6% (1994)

    • External debt:
      $67 billion (1993 est.)

    • Industrial production:
      growth rate 4.3% (1994 est.); accounts for 35% of GDP

    • Electricity:

        61,630,000 kW

        209 billion kWh

        consumption per capita:
        4,033 kWh (1993)

    • Industries:
      machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, food processing, textiles, motor vehicles, clothing, footwear, ceramics

    • Agriculture:
      accounts for about 4% of GDP; self-sufficient in foods other than meat, dairy products, and cereals; principal crops - fruits, vegetables, grapes, potatoes, sugar beets, soybeans, grain, olives; fish catch of 525,000 metric tons in 1990

    • Illicit drugs:
      important gateway country for Latin American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin entering the European market

    • Economic aid:

        ODA and OOF commitments (1970-89), $25.9 billion

    • Currency:
      1 Italian lira (Lit) = 100 centesimi

    • Exchange rates:
      Italian lire (Lit) per US$1 - 1,609.5 (January 1995), 1,612.4 (1994), 1,573.7 (1993), 1,232.4 (1992), 1,240.6 (1991), 1,198.1 (1990)

    • Fiscal year:
      calendar year

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Revised 13-August-1997