Italy Economy

Italy's diversified industrial economy generates a high GDP per capital which remains approximately equal to the rest of the E.U. in purchasing power parity and boasts a large amount of developed infrastructure. According to the IMF, Italy has the eighth largest economy in the world, the fourth largest in Europe and the third largest in the Eurozone in terms of nominal GDP. It is a G8, EU and OECD member. It owns the world's third largest gold reserve.

Despite a strong GDP growth in the post World War II period spanning the years 1945-1990, Italy faces many economic problems in the present. GDP growth rates for the last two decades have lagged behind the E.U. average and the country was hit fairly hard by the world-wide recession that began in the late 2000's. Political efforts to revive GDP growth since the 1980's have left the country with a large amount of public debt.

In 2009, Italy was the world's seventh largest exporter, exporting motor vehicles, tire manufacturing, chemicals, petrochemicals, energy and electrical engineering, home appliances, aerospace and defense technologies, firearms, fashion, food processing, and yachts. The country's closest trade ties are with other E.U. countries. It conducts 59 percent of its total trade with them, with Germany, France and Spain as the most frequent partners.