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The "fuel" in the engine of Lombardy is running out. And the Bank of Italy's alarm on the slowdown in the regional economy rests, above all, on one figure: exports in the first six months of 2019 are negative by 0.6%, while last year they grew by more than 5%. Not to mention that national exports this year are positive (+ 2.1% between January and June).
It is one of the key data emerging from the Report on the economy of Lombardy edited by the Bank of Italy. The reasons for this stop? "The duty factor was triggering – explains Giuseppe Sopranzetti, director of the Milan branch of the Bank of Italy – we are in the year of greatest uncertainty in world trade in the last twenty years". To weigh on a region like Lombardy that has always been "very open to international trade" are different causes, from Brexit "that never ends" until the slowdown in Germany.
Between Brexit and the fall in Germany for Lombardy companies are pains
In the first part of 2019, the dossier explains, the economic activity in Lombardy has progressively slowed down, continuing the trend that had already manifested itself in the second half of 2018. In manufacturing, for example, production and orders remained unchanged, while a Bank of Italy survey indicates a worsening in turnover in the first three quarters of the year, accompanied by a reduction in investment spending.
The companies surveyed expect the demand to remain weak until the early months of 2020 and expect to keep investments unchanged over the next year, conditioned by elements of uncertainty and international trade tensions. As for the sectors, the growth of the Lombard industry came to a halt in 2019: manufacturing production stagnated compared to the same period of the previous year (+ 0.3%), compared to a 3% per cent increase in the 2018.
"The fundamentals are good, but without gas …"
"If fuel comes back – continues director Sopranzetti – the fundamentals of Lombardy are good, we can be cautiously optimistic". But the "unfortunately" stop remains: "That economic growth that the region had undertaken for years, which had accelerated in 2017 and in the first few months of 2018 – he warns – is gradually fading". And it is a «cooling linked to the provinces with the highest manufacturing intensity». As for exports, "after two years of strong growth, we recorded a decline for the first time".