Despite recession, Italy's economy undervalued, says Squinzi

'We must be optimistic' says Confindustria chief

Despite recession, Italy's economy undervalued, says Squinzi

(ANSA) - Rome, July 18 - Despite the recession in Italy and little recovery expected in 2013, the chief of the country's major employers union said on Wednesday he remains "optimistic". "I'm still an entrepreneur and we must be optimistic," Confindustria President Giorgio Squinzi said, adding that Italy is being undervalued by rating agencies like Moody's. He agreed with Bank of Italy figures showing that the country is in recession with no hope of recovery until early 2013. On Tuesday, the central bank said Italy's gross domestic product will fall by 2% this year and by 0.2% in 2013, adding the recession should end "at the start of 2013". Squinzi said researchers at Confindustria, Italy's main employers' association, forecast a 2.4% drop in economic growth this year and a loss of 0.3% in 2013. But Italy still has a stronger industrial base than credit-rating agencies realize, he said. "The country is much more competitive than Moody's and the other rating agencies" acknowledge, Squinzi said. On July 13, New York-based Moody's cut its ratings on Italian government bonds by two notches, a move that could drive up borrowing costs. To reinforce Italy's ability to compete, while also increasing employment, a proposal to celebrate some holidays on weekends, "is worth thinking about it," Squinzi added. "Right now, I do not think there is enough work. (Measures that) increase our competitiveness are welcome". He also called for a renewed focus on government policies that will provide a better road map for Italy's future.

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