Fitch upgrades Italy by a notch to 'BBB' on expectations of growth

BY Reuters | CORPORATE | 12/03/21 06:23 PM EST

Dec 3 (Reuters) - Fitch upgraded Italy's rating to "BBB" from "BBB-" on Friday, as it expects the country's economy to grow after reopening from the COVID-19-led pandemic lockdowns.

The ratings agency believes high vaccination rates and use of the European Union's funds will help the country's growth, supported by both public and private investments.

Fitch added it expects the Italian economy to grow by a robust 6.2% in 2021, faster than it had previously expected.

Italian data has been strong in both the industrial and services sectors has been strong recently, and Mario Draghi's nine-month old government forecasts the economy will exceed the official 6% target this year, following the record 8.9% contraction in 2020 caused by the lockdowns.

"In light of the recent strong performance, we are more confident that the strong and rapid economic rebound and the Next Generation EU spending will counterbalance any 'scarring' from the pandemic," Fitch said in a statement.

However, it added, "as the parliamentary elections are due by March 2023 and the current national unity government is supported by ideologically diverse parties, the implementation of reform measures could slow in 2022 and will be more uncertain beyond the parliamentary elections."

The agency maintained Italy's outlook at "stable". (Reporting by Nilanjana Basu in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)

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