Italy's statistics agency forecasts 0.7 percent growth this year in third largest euro economy

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MILAN — Italy's statistics agency predicts that the eurozone's third largest economy will grow by 0.7 percent this year.

ISTAT said Thursday that the economy would be buoyed by a weaker euro, which favors exports, as well as improved domestic spending helped by low energy prices and an expected improvement in the credit market.

In addition, the agency forecast a moderate drop in unemployment, to 12.5 percent from 12.7 percent.

Italy has never fully recovered from the global financial crisis, slipping back into recession three times since 2008. ISTAT forecast stronger growth of 1.2 percent in 2016.

ISTAT's forecasts were largely in line with those of the government, which put growth in 2015 at 0.7 percent and at 1.3 percent next year.

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