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Italy

There is no peace for Italian recyclers at present: skyrocketing copper in recent days prompted an immediate rush to sell but the market has reacted softly to this LME-generated enthusiasm.

However, there are some grounds for optimism, starting with the labour market which recorded a positive two months with 10,700 more jobs compared to the same period in 2023. The most positive signs can be seen in agriculture and industry while trade and logistics have marked a decrease. Female employment is growing and the ageing of the labour market is also confirmed by the statistics. The number of self-employed workers rose by 62,000, returning above 5 million.

It is expected that Italy’s manufacturing industry will expand by 3% overall in 2024 and 2025, fuelled by growth in families’ real disposable income and improvement in export market conditions.

Inflation was stable in February, with prices climbing 0.8% on the year. Retail sales edged 0.1% lower in January but were 1% higher year on year. Preliminary estimates indicate that the national consumer price index for the entire community recorded an increase of 0.1% on a monthly basis and 0.8% on an annual basis, as in the previous month.

Meanwhile, Minister of Business and Made in Italy Adolfo Urso has stated that the aim is for a change of direction in the incentive plan for the automotive industry compared to recent years, reiterating that public funds cannot be spent on incentivizing cars produced abroad and imported into Italy. In essence, the money will have to push sales and production of cars made in Italy, which were stuck at just 450,000 units in 2022 or less than a third of the 1.4 million registrations nationally. If this doesn’t happen, new resources from the Automotive Fund will be allocated exclusively from next year to the Italian supply chain and to supporting the construction of new production plants in this country. The beneficiaries will therefore be not only Italian car manufacturers but also foreign companies that demonstrate a desire to move production to Italy. In January this year, registrations increased by 10.6% when compared to the same month in 2023, reaching 128,259 units.