Italy ponders minor tweaks to budget

Italy’s finance minister is working on limited adjustments to the populist government’s 2019 budget, according to a media report, as European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis delivered a warning ahead of a Tuesday deadline to revise the spending plan.

Finance Minister Giovanni Tria, who has fought a losing battle to contain a spending push by deputy premiers Luigi Di Maio of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and Matteo Salvini of the anti-migration League, will confirm a deficit of 2.4 percent of national growth despite pressure from the commission, newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore reported Saturday.

With Italy’s reply due next week, Tria and his staff are assessing economic growth targets, emergency spending needs after devastating storms, the weight of interest payments on debt and measures to guarantee that there will be no breach of the 2.4 percent target, the newspaper said. Italy could predict growth below a current target of 1.5 percent for next year, after the commission set its own forecast Thursday at 1.2 percent, Sole added.

Bloomberg