The economies of Italy and Spain are expected to recover at the speed of the 1970s

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Italy and Spain are expected to record the fastest pace of economic expansion this year in more than four decades, a solid rebound that will help countries weather last year’s deep recession.

Spain’s GDP will grow by 6.2% in 2021, while Italy will register a rate of 5.6%, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.

The improved outlook shows how Southern Europe, associated for years with debt crises and economic malaise, may be able to turn the page.

This is particularly crucial for Italy, as it seeks to reduce a debt burden so high that some fear it will ultimately pose an existential threat to the euro area.

Both economies are recovering after suffering the most in the region last year, when strict shutdowns wreaked havoc on businesses and the vital tourism industry.

The rebound is being fueled in part by easing lockdowns and plans to invest billions of euros as part of a historic EU stimulus fund.

There are still reasons for this scenario not to come true. Nicola Nobile of Oxford Economics, who raised her Italian growth forecast to 6.1%, said the outlook remains “heavily dependent” on how the pandemic evolves.

“The spread of the Delta variant will likely cause an increase in Covid cases, but advances in the vaccine mean any new wave is expected to be significantly less deadly than previous ones,” he wrote in a report.


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