It is only a matter of time before France announces to little fanfare that its GDP is about to be slashed, and that as a result the rating agencies put it on downgrade review, and blowing up the entire EFSF mechanism. But before that one needs to shake out the weaker hands, like Italy. For better or worse, that just happened. From Reuters: "Italian economic growth is likely to fall short of the government's official forecast of 1.1 percent in 2011 and 1.3 percent in 2012, probably coming in under 1 percent, a senior government source said on Monday. "It will be very difficult for Italy to reach 1.1 percent growth this year and next," the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters." So if the raters needed any excuse to go ahead and downgrade Italy even more, this is it. As for France: we give them a few months before they also have to tell the truth, and face the music, although with French CDS once again trading at all time wides, the market is not waiting.
Both the Bank of Italy and the International Monetary Fund are expecting growth below 1 percent this year and even weaker growth next year.
Bank of Italy deputy director general Ignazio Visco said last week that the 45.5 billion euro fiscal package currently going through parliament would probably squeeze growth but there was no alternative to tough austerity measures.
The government is expected to issue updated growth forecasts as part of updated budget estimates around Sept. 20.