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Italy

It is a moment of high tension for domestic non-ferrous metal operators: only small quantities of material are available on the market and there is no clarity regarding the near future. The LME makes us jump out of our chairs every day and the disorientation increases: the thousand items of news and alerts coming from all over the world slow down transactions and increase the levels of caution surrounding investments.

Inflation in Italy climbed in March by 1.2% as against 0.8% in February. In the energy sector, however, inflation remained negative at -10.8% in March versus -17.3% in February.

The Italian government is opening negotiations with the European Commission to verify possible new ways of applying the southern contribution reduction measure in line with European regulations and outside the extraordinary measures of the temporary framework on state aid.

It is curious how, in Italy, almost one in 10 workers aged between 20 and 64 worked on average at least 49 hours a week last year - a higher proportion than the EU average of 7.1%. In effect, 9.6% of employed people worked the equivalent of an extra day per week given that standard working hours fluctuate between 36 and 40 hours. Eurostat tables give the impression of a substantial number of workaholic Italians, with the findings actually linked to the self-employed who traditionally work a greater number of hours than the national average for all workers.

Looking solely at professionals and VAT numbers, a much higher proportion works at least 49 hours (29.3%), again emphasizing that the data are not linked so much to overtime work but rather to the wide spread of self-employment in Italy.