(see related story on retail sales) Rome, January 24 - Around 1,000 businesses closed each day in recession-hit Italy last year, according to a report released on Thursday by Unioncamere, the association of the nation's chambers of commerce. It said 364,972 firms closed down in 2012, 24,000 more than in 2011. Unioncamere said it was the fourth time in the last six years that the business-closure rate reached 1,000 firms per day, after 2007, 2008 and 2009. It added that the number of new companies to launch was 383,883 in 2012, the lowest level for eight years and 7,427 down on 2011. This still meant that there were more companies opening than closing. But net difference of 18,911 was the second-lowest since 2005.