Italy Readies New Anti-Inflation Package as Businesses Sound the Alarm

The Italian government said on Thursday it was preparing a new multi-billion euro package to help shield firms and families from surging energy prices, after the country's main business lobby warned of a looming "economic earthquake," Reuters reported. Carlo Bonomi, chief of employers' association Confindustria, said in a radio interview that with energy costs for Italian industry among the highest in Europe, gas prices needed to be capped either at the European or domestic level. Bonomi said that businesses cannot wait for a new government to be installed after elections on Sept. 25 and called for outgoing Prime Minister Mario Draghi to take emergency steps. "What we are facing is an economic earthquake," he said. Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio told reporters that the cabinet would meet next week to approve "a new decree to curb the increase in energy bills". The measures are likely to be worth at least 10 billion euros ($10.01 billion), a government source said. They come on top of some 52 billion euros already budgeted this year to soften the impact of sky-high electricity, gas and petrol costs. Inflation in Italy, which has the third largest economy in the European Union, jumped to 9.0% in August from 8.4% the month before, driven up by electricity and gas prices, preliminary data showed on Wednesday. Read more.