Regione del Veneto - U.O. Sistema Statistico Regionale
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Statistical Report 2013
Chapter 1

Ongoing distress (Note 1)


Economic changes in the long international crisis

The current evolutionary stage of the economic cycle is distinguished by more discontinuity factors compared to the past and the classic Schumpeter theory of business cycles. In the last twenty years there has been a change to the socio-economic system that can be summarised in two basic elements: 'space-time' compression and financial innovations. Progresses in the world of information and communication have allowed an enormous reduction of distances in terms of time and space and a consequent speeding up of processes. People and events in distant places come into contact and interact, giving rise to global consequences; the major financial markets and stock markets are now able to move huge amounts of money in just a few minutes; the growth of real and virtual mobility favours the full integration of exchange rates and international movement of goods, services and capital. Financial innovation has led to new and complex financial instruments being offered, the risk profile of which is hard to fully comprehend. While the interconnection between markets increases, possible financial imbalances are becoming increasingly difficult to identify and the risks of adverse shocks from local contexts or specific segments of the financial sector can rapidly spread on a global level.
The combination of these factors together with the delay with which the fragilities and the interconnections of the financial markets emerged has increased the impact and persistence on the current economy of the financial crisis that exploded in the summer of 2007 in the United States.
Globally, the decrease in 2009 was equal to -0.6 %; in the United States the decrease in quarterly Gross Domestic Product from the peak at the end of 2007 to the low in 2009, equal to -4.7 %, was the biggest since the war; in the Euro Area, in the second quarter of 2009, the GDP was 5.6 % lower than the highest observed before the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
The crisis has accentuated the effects of a transformation that was already under way, unfortunately emphasising its negative aspects rather than the profitable developments. After a slight recovery in 2010 and a 2011 in deceleration, the global growth prospects represented in the figures for 2012 were still uncertain. The strengthening of emerging Countries, the agreement reached in the United States to avoid the fiscal cliff as well as the relaxation of financial tensions in the Euro Area were all positive signs; however, Europe's industrial production continued to lose force.
2012 saw a slight improvement in the international economy in the third quarter and overall growth stood at 3.2 % for the whole year. The main sources of acceleration are the emerging economies that increased their output by 5.1 % and, out of the advanced economies, the United States, where the GDP increased by 2.2 %. The moderate pace of international growth remained subdued with regards to the world trade trend. Growth in Asia resulted in a recovery of intra-area trade, while direct trade flows towards western Countries grew at low rates. Neither U.S. demand, nor that of Europe were able to play a leading role in global growth.
In 2013, the sixth year since the beginning of the great international economic crisis which started in 2007, recovery will remain fragile, especially in the Euro Area and will be characterised by great diversity between the different areas and Countries. From a technical point of view, the global economy began recovering in spring 2009; however, the adjustment of the system from the imbalances inherited from the 2000s does not seem to be over. Therefore, the economic framework of 2013-2014 will not only reflect the response of the economic system to conjuncture factors, but will also be affected by the adjustment process still underway in many Countries. The probability of a recession remains high, especially in the Euro Area; the International Monetary Fund suggests that the expansion of global GDP will intensify in 2014. (Figure 1.1) (Figure 1.2)
The GDP growth rate in the United States accelerated in the third quarter of 2012 rising to 3.1 % compared to the previous period, mainly due to the recovery in residential building investments, the increase in public spending and the accumulation of stock, which more than compensated for the decline in fixed investments in production and the slowdown in private consumption. Despite the fact that later in the fourth quarter of 2012 the US economy buckled under the weight of tax uncertainties concerning businesses, public spending cuts and finally, hurricane Sandy, which left behind tens of billion dollars worth of damage, the economy grew by 2.2 %. In the first few months of 2013, more than 260,000 jobs were created in the United States and unemployment fell by 7.7 %, and this is not the only good news: the US economy is on the mend, if not already in good health, due to a series of actions aimed at growth, such as in manufacturing industry and the containment of public spending.
Japan's growth is above the average of advanced economies (+1.3 %): 2.0 % in 2012, supported by the increase in consumption that occurred following the issuance of public subsidies for purchasing environment-friendly cars. After a negative fourth quarter in 2012, Japan is now exuding optimism due to the strong and unconventional political choice of the new Japanese government driven by the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who plans to give 5 billion dollars in aid to businesses at the beginning of the year and to launch measures that include funding for the acquisition of foreign businesses, in order to exit from the tunnel that the last IMF Outlook called 'Japan's Lost Decade'. Its position within the difficult financial situation is still not clear: Japan has a public debt of 244 % of the GDP and the Bank of Japan seems to oppose a more expansive monetary policy.
In the major emerging economies, economic activity recorded an increase of 5.1 % in 2012; however, it is continuing to slowdown, reflecting the negative impact of the international economic situation, in some cases partially offset by the strength of domestic demand. In China, the economy grew by 7.8 % in 2012, supported by consumer spending and investments in infrastructure backed by government plans. A percentage variation of GDP that for advanced economies would be considered excellent, is seen as worrying in China because the growth had been exponential in the previous years and this value was the lowest recorded in the last 13 years. However, despite the slowdown, China was confirmed as the second largest global economy after the United States. The figures are impressive when compared to the stagnation of Europe. Industrial production showed an increase of 10.3 %. Retail sales also spurted with a growth of 15.2 %: however, electrical appliances and the car sector lagged behind. Property sales grew the most with a 30 % increase on an annual basis. The economic stimulus programme launched by the government in autumn for 126 billion euros also influenced the 'fixed investments' which maintained an annual growth of 20.6 %.
In India, the slowdown in activity was more pronounced, GDP grew by 4.5 % in 2012 compared to 7.9 % and in Brazil GDP growth remained sluggish, +1 % in 2012 compared to 2.7 % in 2011. In 2012, out of the emerging Countries, Mexico with +3.8 %, and Russia with +3.6 % showed better growth than India. (Figure 1.3) (Table 1.1)

Figure 1.1

Percentage variations of the world trade of goods and services and Gross Domestic Product - Years 2008:2014

Figure 1.2

Probability of recession in the main areas. Estimates

Figure 1.3

Percentage variations in GDP compared to the same period of the previous year. Main areas - 1st quarter 2010: 4th quarter 2014

Table 1.1

Economic indicators in the main industrialised Countries - Years 2011:2014


The European Union closed the year in recession, -0.3 % for the EU27 and -0.6 % for the Euro Area. The trend decreased over the course of the year, only showing a positive growth rate in the first quarter of 2012 which was then negative for the remaining three quarters.
In Europe, a small positive boost was given by the economies of the German area and the North: +0.7 % in Germany, +0.8 % in Austria, +0.8 % in Sweden and +3.2 % in Norway. France showed stagnation, 0 %, compared to the previous year and the trends of peripheral economies remained worrying: in addition to Greece (-6.4 %) and Spain (-1.4 %), Italy's trend remained structurally weak -2.4 %. (Table 1.2)
The European economic framework continues to be characterised by a phase of substantial weakness driven by the fall in domestic demand in the peripheral Countries. Consumption and investments are declining. The magnitude of the recession is partly due to the fact that the fall in domestic demand is to some extent 'unloading' onto the import trend of these Countries; the collapse of import drove the recovery of the peripheral Countries' balance of trade; the cumulative balance is reaching break-even and, overlapping the stability of German surplus, is leading the Euro Area to a large balance trade deficit.
The effects of the recession can also be easily recognised in labour market trends. In the peripheral Countries, demand for labour is slowing down significantly and unemployment is soaring. The social consequences of the crisis are rising; in the peripheral Countries, the areas of economic distress are expanding, with a worsening of the poverty indicators.
In six years, between 2007 and 2012 most of the Countries in the Euro Area recorded significant contractions in production levels, in some cases severe enough to counteract the growth achieved in the six years prior, when all the Countries in the area recorded a positive GDP trend. (Figure 1.4)

Table 1.2

Economic indicators in the major Countries of the Euro Area - Years 2011:2014

Figure 1.4

Percentage variation 2007/02 and 2012/07 of Gross Domestic Product per Country. Euro Area

Financial conditions and debt in Europe

In his keynote speech held in Florence on 18th May of this year (Note 2) , Ignazio Visco, governor of the Bank of Italy, stated that, in the Euro Area, the crisis has accentuated some problems already existing within the EU: the weakness of some Member Countries and the incompleteness of European construction. The inadequate economic and budgetary policies of individual Countries as well as the delays in dealing with global, commercial, technological and demographic changes have fuelled doubts on the sustainability of public debts and on the integrity of the monetary union. In fact, in 2012, the possibility of disintegrating the single European currency was ongoing in journalism and political debate.
In 1989 Delors, in his report on the economic and monetary union, stated that the financial markets cannot alone provide the right incentives to conduct prudent budgetary policies, but the market forces could lead to the economic convergence of EU Member Countries; however, since 2009, the risks of using a single currency without a single government have been clear. In fact, budget rules were not complied with and economic convergence did not materialise. Now, the consequences of the delays in the transition from a monetary policy to a real budgetary policy as well as the consequences of common debt in the Euro Area Countries are being dealt with.
The agreements reached over the course of the last two years have not introduced budget objectives anymore restrictive than those already in place and the commitments made in the past can still not be derogated from. The new European governance has increased the automation of the consistency checks between the policies and the objectives already existing in the Stability and Growth Pact and any penalties; EU Countries have been asked to take on board these objectives by formally acknowledging them in national legislation. The regulation, which requires an average annual reduction of the debt to GDP ratio equal to one-twentieth of the excess over the threshold of 60 %, is the operational reference for the application of a prescription already present in the Maastricht Treaty. It does not impose budget objectives that are more ambitious than the structural balance (i.e. net of the economic cycle effect and transitional measures).
In the last year, the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy (Note 3) presented his paper on how to achieve a genuine Economic and Monetary union; the paper was prepared in agreement with the Presidents of the Eurogroup, the European Commission and the European Central Bank. After extensive discussion, the European Council invited the Presidents to develop a specific 'road map' that included precise deadlines for achieving the ambitious goal. The final report was submitted to the European Council on 14th December and upon its approval, a new phase began for reviewing the rules and instruments available to the EU for governing its multinational economy within the global scenario.
Now it has become necessary to ask about the aim of the European Union, especially with regards to feeding the confidence of the markets and entrepreneurs, but also ordinary citizens who are asking whether the EU is a free market, a confederation, a federal state, a super state or just a monstrous delegitimized bureaucracy (Saccomanni).
The cyclical downturn, the measures for the consolidation of public finances and the structural reforms are beginning to correct the external imbalances of some of the Euro Area Countries. Despite the progress achieved at a European level and the reduction in the fears of extreme unfavourable events, international financial conditions remain fragile. The main risk posed to financial stability in Europe and Italy is represented by the spiral of low economic growth, the sovereign debt crisis and the conditions of the banking system. The particularly high sovereign spreads recorded in several Countries due to the fears of the reversibility of the euro, if persistent, will dampen growth. (Figure 1.5)
At the end of 2012, net borrowing for the European Union (Note 4) , which corresponded to 0.9 percent of the GDP in 2007, reached 4 %, lower than the value of 2011 (4.5 %). The public debt (Note 5) , which in 2007 represented 59 % of GDP for the EU27, came to 86.8 per cent of GDP in 2012, higher than the value recorded in 2011 (83%).
Net borrowing and public debt calculated as a percentage of GDP are the two reference indicators for assessing public accounts, and in particular for budget management and public finance management respectively. (Figure 1.6) (Table 1.3)
In the opinion of investors, Italy suffers from high public debt and, above all, low growth. However, Italy does have elements of strength, such as low private sector borrowing, bank stability and limited foreign debt.

Figure 1.5

Spread: difference between Italian BTPs and German Bunds (x 100) - Jan 2011:Feb 2013

Figure 1.6

Deficit and public debt as a percentage of GDP in the major economies of the Euro Area - Years 2007 and 2013

Table 1.3

Indicators of financial stability (as a percentage of GDP) for some Countries - Year 2011

Raw materials and exchange rates

When analysing raw materials, 2012 can be divided into two periods: the late spring, when some bearish factors, such as the worsening of the crisis in Europe and the slowdown of Chinese growth, led to a sharp fall in prices in general; and the final weeks of the third quarter in which prices were brought to the levels of the beginning of the year following the more expansive attitude of the policy makers. Ultimately, in 2012, raw material was relatively stable. For several months the trend in the demand for oil has been stagnant, whereas on the supply side, conditions have been quite favourable. This could have led to a rather significant fall in crude oil prices, however this did not happen, probably for two reasons. The first is of a geopolitical nature: the prices incorporate a premium for the risk of a future shortage, a risk which has become greater following political tensions that have affected the Arab world. The second concerns issues related to financial markets, and in particular the high correlation between oil prices and the major stock market indices: the liquidity fed into the markets by central banks would in fact spill out onto all the markets at the same time, thus explaining both the recent recovery of the stock markets and the maintenance of crude oil prices.
In general, the impression is that over the course of the last few years, the market trends of raw materials are dominated by factors other than the elasticity of the demand for raw materials compared to GDP growth, such as the cyclical fluctuations of demand, pressures arising from the financialisation of the markets and political tensions in the Middle East. Even agricultural commodities, which could have responded to demographic pressures better than others, mainly reflect the fluctuations in oil prices. In conclusion, following the structural increase observed during the 2000s, it is not sure that a new phase of growth of the global economy involves another step in the prices of raw material (Note 6) .
The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies Crb commodity index closed the year with a 3 % decline, even though 13 of the 19 materials most traded on U.S. markets increased in price: the positive performance of precious metals, industrial metals and large agricultural commodities was counterbalanced by the heavy depreciation of colonial products and similar, with peaks of almost 40 % less for Arabica coffee and over -30 % for orange juice. Cotton (-18.1 %) and sugar (-16.3 %) also declined, whilst cocoa increased (+6%). (Figure 1.7)
During 2012, a decline in the euro against the dollar was witnessed. However, in the first few months of 2013, the euro reached new highs against the dollar, just under 1.35: one of the highest levels for at least 14 months against the greenback, weakened by consumer confidence that fell more than expected. Thus the paradox of the euro continues, the currency of the weakest economy in a world that continues to strengthen, further sapping exports from Europe. As is well-known, the phenomenon is related to the escalation of currency wars, with Japan recently joining the 'money printing club' in order to regain competitiveness. After the peak at the beginning of February, a decline of the euro was witnessed (Note 7) .

Figure 1.7

Price of Brent oil ($/barrel) and euro-dollar exchange rate - Jan 2007:Feb 2013


The Italian economy is going through a phase of profound difficulty, in which the structural weaknesses are exacerbated by the unfavourable economic situation. Over five years, Italy has had to deal with the financial crisis, the instability of the sovereign debt market and two deep recessions. Since the beginning of the crisis, Italy's GDP has fallen by 7 percentage points and the number of employed by 600,000 units.
In 2012 in Italy, GDP was equal to 1,565,916 million current euros, with a reduction in real terms of 2.4 % compared to the previous year, against an increase of 0.4 % in 2011 and therefore a sharp slowdown compared to the growth of 1.7 % which occurred in 2010. The decline experienced in the last year almost cancelled out the increase of the two previous years, driving down the current GDP to slightly below the level recorded in 2009. (Figure 1.8)
The decrease in GDP in 2012 was accompanied by a decrease in the import of goods and services, accentuating the decline of available resources. With regards to use, there was a contraction in both national final consumption (-3.9 %) and fixed gross investments (-8.0 %). Domestic demand made a significant negative contribution to the GDP variation (-4.8 percentage points), whereas the variation in inventories subtracted 0.6 percentage points. In contrast, net foreign demand positively contributed by 3 percentage points.
In 2012, final consumption expenditure of households declined by -4.3 %, after almost stabilising in 2011 (+0.1 %). The decline in household consumption is particularly high for goods (-7.0 %), whereas services expenditure recorded a decrease of 1.4 %. In terms of areas of consumption, the most significant contraction regarded spending on clothing and footwear (-10.2 %) and transport (-8.5%).
General government expenditure and private social expenditure showed a decrease in volume of 2.9 % and 1.0 %, respectively.
In 2012, there was a significant decline in fixed gross investments (-8.0 %), following that much smaller recorded in 2011 (-1.8 %). This reduction applied to all components, with a fall of 12.2 % for investments in transport means, 10.6 % for investments in machinery and equipment and 6.2 % for investments in construction.
The exports of goods and services increased in volume by 2.3 %, whilst imports fell by 7.7 %.
At a sectoral level, there was a decline in added value compared to the previous year in all the major sectors, with a decrease of 4.4 % in agriculture, silviculture and fishery, 3.5 % in industry in the strict sense, 6.4 % in construction and 1.2 % in services.
This year will also be a difficult year. It is predicted that GDP may reduce by an average of 1.5 % and the recession could end in the second half of 2013.
Foreign Countries acknowledge the progress made by Italy in 2012 towards financial sustainability in terms of the pension system, the efficiency of the tax system, the fight against tax evasion, the systematic review of all public expenditure items, looking for excess and savings and finally the rationalisation of standards. However, institutions and practices curb the energies of the Country, compress the competitiveness of businesses and stifle the expectations of young people.
With regards to debt, the net borrowing of the general government measured in relation to GDP, is equal to -3.0 %, an improvement compared to -3.8 % in 2011. In absolute terms, net borrowing decreased by around 60,016 million euros.
The primary balance (net borrowing, net of interest payment) was positive and equal to 2.5 % of GDP, an improvement of 1.3 percentage points compared to 2011.
The current account balance (general government savings or deficit) is equal to -6,019 million Euros, compared to -23,018 million in 2011. Such improvement is attributable to an increase in current income of over 22 billion euros, much higher than the current expenses (around 5.3 billion euros).
Total revenue of the general government, equal to 48.1 % of the GDP, increased by 2.4 % compared to the previous year. Current income recorded an increase of 3.1 %, amounting to 47.7 % of the GDP. In particular, indirect taxes increased by 5.2 %, mainly driven by the revenue received from the 'Imposta Municipale Unica' (IMU, combined municipal property tax) and by the increase of excise duties on mineral oils.
The Ministry of Economy has released figures relative to IMU income for the year 2012. The Italian State collected a total of 23.7 billion. Proceeds from first houses amounted to around 4 billion euros and revenue regarding property other than the first house (Note 8) was 19.7 billion euros. The average amount paid for the first house was equal to 225 euros per taxpayer (Note 9) .
Veneto has contributed 322.5 million euro to IMU first house income, i.e. 8 % of the national income for the first house, with an average payment of 196 euros per tax payer. With regards to property other than the first house, 1.6 billion euros were paid in Veneto, 8.4 % of the national income, with an average payment of 906 euros per tax payer. (Figure 1.9) (Figure 1.10) (Figure 1.11)
Direct taxes grew by 5.2 %, mainly due to the increase in IRPEF (personal income tax), the relative regional surtax and the substitute tax on withholding tax, interest and other investment income, reflecting the changes to the taxation of financial income. Actual social contributions were essentially stable (-0.1%).
The overall tax burden (sum of direct and indirect taxes, capital taxes and social contributions in relation to GDP) was equal to 44.0 %, an increase of 1.4 percentage points compared to 2011.
The decline in capital revenue (-44.0 %) was mainly due to the reduction in capital taxes (-80.3 %), due to the elimination of substitute tax one-off payments for the realignment of carrying amounts to the IAS (Note 10) that supported the 2011 income.
Total government expenditure, equal to 51.2 % of the GDP, increased by 0.6 % compared to 2011 and current income grew by 0.7 %. In particular, compensation of employees decreased by 2.3 %, following a reduction of the general government operating units and the continuation of the block on contract renewals. With regards to the measures to contain public expenditure, intermediate consumption was reduced by 2.4 %, compared to a growth of 1.2 % in 2011.
Cash social benefits increased by 2.4 %, in line with the growth in spending on pensions and annuities; the dynamic of the latter is supported by the effect of price indexation.
Interest payable increased by 10.7 %.
With regards to capital expenditure, fixed gross investments decreased by 6.3 %.
For 2013, recovery is threatened by the unpredictability of the domestic political framework and the re-emergence of financial turmoil in the Euro Area, which could affect the operators' confidence and investment activity. In order to preserve the prospect of economic recovery, actions aimed at sustaining business activity are required. The measures currently under discussion concerning payment by the general government of debts to suppliers, if implemented promptly, will provide a fundamental contribution.
In March this year, the EU also agreed on the possibility of creating greater flexibility in the payment of the arrears that the Italian general government owes to businesses and suppliers, out of the deficit and public debt. According to indications from Brussels, Italy should prepare a repayment plan for previous debt entered into by the general government with businesses and the European Commission is ready to work together to implement it. The payment of trade payables, as explained to the EU Executive, could be included in the 'mitigating factors' in the assessment made by Brussels of compliance with the commitments regarding the deficit, and could in fact breathe life into many Italian businesses, particularly those in the building sector which is especially burdened by the problem.
According to the estimates by the European Commission released at the beginning of November, Italy's net borrowing will stand at a slightly higher level (2.1 % of GDP) in the three year period 2013-2015. The decline in yields, both spot and forward, on Italian government bonds, the compression of the sovereign spread relative to Germany and the resumption of purchasing government bonds by foreign operators denotes a return of confidence in the sustainability of Italian public finances.

Figure 1.8

Percentage variations of GDP, final consumption and investments in the relative period of the previous year. Italy - 1st quarter 09:4th quarter 2012

Figure 1.9

IMU: average payment for the first house per taxpayer (euros) per municipality. Italy - Year 2012

Figure 1.10

IMU: average payment for the first house per taxpayer (euros) per municipality. Veneto - Year 2012

Figure 1.11

IMU: average payment for properties other than the first house per taxpayer (euros) per municipality. Veneto - Year 2012

Industrial activity

During 2012 industrial activity decreased, so much so that, after the stagnation of 2011 and despite the increases in 2012, the pre-crisis values of 2008 were not reached. The average industrial production index in 2012 indicated a decrease of 6.7 % compared to the previous year and the worst figure since 2009. Industrial production decreased with regards to all types of goods: -6.3 % for consumer goods, -5.3 % for capital goods, -8.4 % for intermediate goods and -3.4 for energy.
The turnover index has a similar trend: decreasing by 4.3 % in 2012. However, it should be recognised that in the face of a decrease of -7.6 % of the domestic market, foreign sales continues to grow: + 2.6 %.
The orders index in 2012 was equal to 9.8 %, a value given by -13.8 % in domestic orders and - 3.3 % in foreign orders. (Figure 1.12)

Figure 1.12

Seasonally adjusted indices of industrial production, turnover and orders (base year 2010 = 100). Italy - Jan 2010:Jan 2013

The credit crunch

In conjunction with the cyclical downturn, in 2012 the decline in demand for loans from businesses continued, already having manifested in the second half of the previous year. Figures from the Bank of Italy show that the decline in credit applications has affected all the main areas of the Country, although it has been more consistent in the southern regions. The decreased demand for loans has affected all production sectors, although it has been more pronounced in the construction sector.
Tensions concerning supply terms and conditions have continued to appear especially though the increase of the spreads charged by intermediaries. Compared to the previous six months, guarantee requests as well as the terms and conditions attached to the credit rating of the business requesting the credit line continued to play a major role in the first part of 2012, actually easing the restrictions on the amount of credit offered.
The request for loans by households increased slightly up until August 2012 and then drop. In particular, mortgages for purchasing family houses, already falling in the second half of 2011, showed an even greater downturn in the first six months of 2012 in all the main territorial areas of the Country. (Figure 1.13)

Figure 1.13

Trend of bank loans to households and businesses ( % var. in regards to the corresponding month of the previous year). Veneto and Italy - Jul 2012:Dec 2012

Confidence in Italy

After the optimism indicated in 2012 and in the first few months of 2011, the composite index of the confidence of businesses, which encompasses the opinion of entrepreneurs from all sectors, deteriorated for the whole of 2012, with the exception of the summer months.
The confidence of manufacturing businesses decreased, but it stabilised in the second half of the year and in the first few months of 2013; the confidence of builders reached rock bottom in 2010, while in 2012 it remained rather consistent up until a further decrease towards the end of the year; the climate of confidence of market service and retail trade businesses gradually worsened over the year. (Figure 1.14) (Figure 1.15)
Even the opinion of households gradually depressed during the year. Among the factors that contributed to this result are objective elements related to perspectives on the trend of the economy, finance and the consequences of tax policies. Consumers demonstrated greater pessimism for the general economic situation rather than their personal one. (Figure 1.16)

Figure 1.14

Monthly balance of the confidence of total businesses, of manufacturing businesses and of construction businesses (seasonally adjusted data 2005 = 100). Italy - Mar 2009:Mar 2013

Figure 1.15

Monthly climate of confidence of market services businesses and retail trade businesses (seasonally adjusted data, 2005 = 100). Italy - Mar 2009:Mar 2013

Figure 1.16

Monthly balance of the climate of confidence of consumers (seasonally adjusted, 1980 = 100). Italy - Mar 2009:Mar 2013

The economy of Veneto

Official regional accounting figures stop at the year 2011, therefore, in order to analyse 2012 the estimates and forecasts made by the Prometeia Research Institute are referred to.
In the national context of uncertainty, in 2011 Veneto's GDP grew by 1 percentage point. Domestic demand is weak and is mostly supported by household consumption (+0.4 %), while investments are declining (-1.8 %).
The increase of GDP in 2011, albeit small, was higher than the national increase due to the strongly export-led production structure of this region which has supported manufacture. In fact, the result of 2011 can be mainly attributed to the manufacturing industry in the strict sense, the added value of which grew by 3.5 per cent. Growth was recording by the services sector by 0.4 % and agriculture by 1.3 %, whereas the construction sector was still in a downward phase, -0.3.
In 2012 estimates, Veneto was also affected by the recession in a similar manner to the national level: the percentage decrease of -1.9 % of GDP is only slightly better than the national -2.4 %. The added value of services showed a stagnation (-0.6 %), against -3.3 % in industry in the strict sense, -5.6 % in construction and the positive percentage change, 0.5 %, of agriculture. Among the components of demand, a decrease of -4 % in household consumption and -8.5 % in investments were estimated.
2013 will represent a year in stagnation to then give way to a recovery predicted for 2014, leading to a growth of around 1.7 %. (Table 1.4) (Figure 1.17) (Figure 1.18) (Figure 1.19)
Despite economic difficulties, Veneto remains the third region in Italy for the production of wealth, after Lombardy and Lazio: 9.4 % of the Gross Domestic Product is generated in Veneto. GDP per Veneto inhabitant estimated in 2012 was 29,636 euros, 15 % higher than the national value.
With regards to the labour market, Veneto recorded an employment value in line with the previous year, equal to 65 %, and an unemployment rate of 6.6 %, the highest of the decade; however, when comparing Veneto with other regions, it is again confirmed as one of the leader regions with the fourth highest employment rate and second lowest unemployment rate.

Table 1.4

Macroeconomic framework (percentage variations of concatenated values with 2005 as reference year). Veneto and Italy - Years 2010:2013

Figure 1.17

Estimates of 2012/11 % variation of Gross Domestic Product (2005 prices)

Figure 1.18

% variation 2012/11 of the added value per sector of economic activity. Veneto and Italy

Figure 1.19

Annual % variation of Italian household expenditure per type of good and total spending of Veneto households - Years 2008:2012

How much time has been lost?

We are still far from pre-crisis values. In real terms, Veneto GDP reached the highest value in 2007: 141,628 million euros; according to estimates up to 2014, it could reach 132,769 million euros, i.e. return to 2004 levels.
The current recession was mainly caused by the trend of domestic demand, especially consumption. The worsening of the labour market, business orders, business confidence, the climate of heightened uncertainties, tensions on the financial and credit markets as well as the adjustment measures of public finances all affect the behaviour of consumers/operators, causing a delay or decrease of spending and investment plans.
All the economic values showed a decline starting from the year of the crisis, returning to values from several years ago. Despite Veneto being in a privileged position compared to the Italian region average, it is not exempt from this phenomenon.
The GDP per inhabitant (Note 11) , which is a measure commonly used to assess the degree of well-being in an area based on the amount of wealth produced by its economic system, fell significantly starting from 2007 both in Veneto and nationally. Whilst maintaining a level much higher than the Italian average, it is predicted that in 2014, the GDP per capita in real terms will slightly increase compared to 2013 data, positioning itself alongside the values of 1996, 19 years earlier. (Figure 1.20)
Disposable income (Note 12) is in fact a summary measure of the economic well-being enjoyed by the residents of an area, considered in their capacity as consumers and savers. In fact, it includes all the cash flows, incoming and outgoing, pertaining to the residents, even if generated outside of the territory, whilst it excludes cash made in the territory by people who live elsewhere. Disposable income per capita of Veneto households in 2012 was estimated to be 19.7 thousand euros, higher than the national average of 17.8 thousand euros, but in real terms a decline compared to the maximum level reached in 1989. Forecasts up to 2014 predict that this value will fall to the values of the early 80's, despite a slight recovery with regards to 2013.
Household consumption per capita, obviously connected to the level of income, shows the same trend: a decrease starting from 2007, a brief recovery in 2010, when the end of the tunnel was in sight, and then a further decrease. The levels predicted for 2014 are those of the mid-nineties.
At the same time, households' savings have been thinning since 2009, but are expected to start to grow again in 2014 (Figure 1.21).
Among the other components that contribute to forming GDP, fixed gross investments were analysed that represent the value of durable goods purchased by resident producer units, to be used in the production process, as well as the value of services incorporated in the investment goods purchased.
In 2014 in Veneto, investments per worker (Note 13) will return to the value of 1995. (Figure 1.22)
After a decrease in 2009, productivity (Note 14) has recovered and despite not having reached the peak of 2007, is in acceleration. Given the general economic framework is not positive, this trend can be read as work being held, supported by social safety nets, against a decrease of added value. (Figure 1.23)

Figure 1.20

Gross Domestic Product per capita (in euros for the year 2005). Veneto and Italy - Years 1980:2014

Figure 1.21

Final consumption expenditure and disposable income of households (euros for the year 2005, per capita). Veneto - Years 1980:2014

Figure 1.22

Fixed gross investments per work unit (euros in the year 2005). Veneto and Italy - Years 1980:2014

Figure 1.23

Added value per work unit (euros for the year 2005). Veneto and Italy - Years 1980:2014

Prices in Veneto

The crisis did not halt inflation: in 2012 in Italy inflation rose to 3%, indicating the slight recovery of this variable following the 2011 value equal to 2.8%. It should be noted that in the last few months of the year it was settling, following a trend driven by the exhaustion of the thrusts triggered in recent months by the price trend of raw materials and by the increase in indirect taxes and excise duties. Once these factors subsided, the price dynamic started to converge on the lower values of underlying inflation.
The average inflation detected in Veneto is equal to 2.9%, slightly lower than the national value; the provincial capitals with a higher rate are Venice and Vicenza (Note 15) .
With reference to expenditure items, Veneto shows a similar trend to the national: contributions to the average growth of the last year mostly regard housing, water, electricity, fuel and transport.