Italy's economic recovery is likely to begin in the third or fourth quarter of 2013, the central bank governor said on Sunday, urging any new government to continue reforms and cut red tape for businesses.
"Our analyses suggest that there is a higher than 50 percent probability that the turnaround will come in the third or fourth quarter of 2013," Bank of Italy chief Ignazio Visco said in an interview with La Stampa daily.
Visco also said there had been a "significant" lowering of tensions on the debt market for Italy in recent months due to the return of foreign investors and Italian banks that enabled the treasury to sell long-term bonds.
Asked about a possible recourse to European Central Bank assistance on the bond market, Visco said this was not on the cards since "the current conditions are less tense".
He cautioned, however, that "political and economic uncertainty is a burden" and said that "the fruits of austerity must not be wasted."
"The only way is to continue and reduce the negative effects that the reforms could have on certain sectors and at certain times," he said.
"The efforts made must not be for nothing. We have to decisively seek greater efficiency and reduce the limits on entrepreneurs," he added.
Italy is expected to go to the polls in February.