by Alessandra Cardone
ROME, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- The Italian gross domestic product (GDP) grew slightly in the second quarter of the year compared to the previous one, the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) said on Friday.
The seasonally and calendar adjusted GPD was estimated to have increased by 0.2 percent against the first quarter of 2018, according to the quarterly report on national accounts.
Adjusting a previous 1.1 percent growth forecast made in late July, the institute added the GDP in the second quarter grew by 1.2 percent on an annual basis.
Final consumption expenditure increased by 0.1 percent, gross fixed capital formation by 2.9 percent, and imports by 1.8 percent compared to the first quarter, while exports fell by 0.2 percent.
Compared to the second quarter of 2017, the same components of the GDP grew by 0.7 percent, 6.2 percent, 2.1 percent, and 0.9 percent, respectively.
In a short comment, ISTAT noted the 0.2 percent GDP increase in the second quarter of 2018 confirmed "a deceleration of the growth pace" compared to the two previous quarters (both posting a 0.3 percent growth).
"The large negative contribution of the net foreign demand stemmed from the combined effects of a slight decline in exports and a consistent recovery in imports," ISTAT wrote.
"On the domestic demand side, the investment rebound was driven by machinery, equipment and transport vehicles components, against a weak growth in consumption," it added.
Major business media outlets did not seemed taken aback by the latest data, as a partial slowdown in the country's economic growth pace was expected along 2018.
"In his hearing before the Upper House's Finance Committee in July, Economy Minister Giovanni Tria anticipated that growth rates would remain positive in 2018, but with slower trends compared to those in 2017," financial daily MF Milano Finanza commented.
"For this year, a (rate of) growth not far from the 1.5 percent planned seems still within reach, although the overall framework suggests a decline," the newspaper added.
Also on Friday, ISTAT stated Italy's unemployment in July dropped by 0.4 percentage points to 10.4 percent against June. The decrease involved both genders, and all of the age groups.
Youth unemployment (among people aged 15-24) also dropped by 1.0 percentage points to 30.8 percent against the previous month.
The employment rate was steady at 58.7 percent over the previous month, while the inactivity rate grew by 0.3 points to 34.3 percent over the same period.
Compared to the same month of 2017, employment in July grew by 1.2 percentage points, ISTAT said.
Italy's unemployment rate was the third highest within the European Union (EU), behind that of Greece (19.5 percent) and of Spain (15.1 percent) according to data unveiled by EU statistical office Eurostat on Friday.
Average unemployment in the euro-area stood at 8.2 percent in July, and at 6.8 percent in the EU-28 (still with UK), Eurostat added.