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Italy debt soars on virus impact

By AFP - Mar 01,2021 - Last updated at Mar 01,2021

ROME — Italy's public debt soared last year, rising more than 20 percentage points as the coronavirus pandemic savaged the economy, official data showed on Monday.

Total accumulated national debt jumped to 155.6 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) last year from 134.6 per cent in 2019.

Italy had by the end of 2020 accumulated a colossal debt of 2.57 trillion euros, up from 2.41 trillion euros in 2019, according to national statistics agency Istat.

GDP in the eurozone's third-largest economy fell 8.9 per cent last year, mainly due to restrictions imposed by the government to stem a devastating coronavirus outbreak that has killed almost 100,000 people.

Italy is banking on a windfall of more than 200 billion euros from the European Union's post-virus recovery fund to help get back on its feet.

Istat also published figures on provisional inflation data on Monday, showing consumer prices in February rising by 0.1 per cent compared to the previous month, and 0.6 per cent year-on-year.

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