The eurozone’s third-largest economy, Italy, has registered a record economic contraction on Monday, as household spending an investment plummeted during the country’s COVID-19 lockdown.
Plunged into recession, Italy’s GDP fell by 12.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, when compared to the first quarter. It also fell by 17.7 per cent when compared to the same period last year.
The news came through an official statement by the country’s national statistics agency, Istat.
"The full estimate of the quarterly economic figures confirm the exceptional extent of the drop in GDP in the second quarter, due to the economic effects of the health emergency and the containment measures adopted," Istat said.
The economic contraction is slightly worse than Istat projections back in July, when the agency estimated a second-quarter drop of 12.4 per cent. In the first quarter, Italy’s economy contracted by 5.4 per cent.
A recession is broadly defined as two consecutive quarters where a drop in GDP is registered.
Istat said that in the second quarter of the year, household spending in Italy fell by 11.3 per cent when compared to the first quarter, while exports crashed by 26.4 per cent.
Italy was the first European country to be hit by COVID-19, and had among the worst mortality rates. The country went into total lockdown in early March.
Experts say that Italy is on track to suffer the worst recession since World War II, with an expected drop in GDP of around eight to 14 per cent for 2020.