Bank of Italy: Public debt hits record high

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The Bank of Italy says the country’s public debt has risen, setting a new record, as the eurozone struggles to overcome a deepening financial crisis.

According to a report released by the Italian central bank on Monday, Italy’s public debt reached 2.0751 trillion euros in June, up from 1.995 trillion a month earlier.

There are growing concerns that the high public debt could lead to increasing unemployment in a country already mired in recession.

Italy has an unemployment rate of 12.1 percent, with nearly 40 percent of Italians between the age of 15 and 24 being without a job.

On August 6, Italy’s National Institute for Statistics (ISTAT) said that the Italian gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 0.2 percent following a 0.6 percent contraction in the first three months of 2013.

Italians have been staging protests against the high unemployment rate, economic adversity, and hardship over a series of government-imposed austerity packages in the recent past.

Tough austerity measures, spending cuts, and pension changes have stirred serious concerns for many people already grappling with Italy’s ailing economy.

A recent human rights report revealed that the number of economy-related suicides in Italy, Eurozone’s third largest economy, increased in the first quarter of 2013 by 40 percent from a year ago.

Italy started to experience recession after its economy contracted by 0.2 percent in the third quarter of 2011 and by 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of the same year. Over the past decade, the country has been the slowest growing economy in the eurozone.

The worsening debt crisis has forced the EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms, triggering incidents of social unrest and massive protests in many European countries.

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