Istat provided further evidence of how hard the recession is hitting Italian business on Friday, when it released figures showing that industrial orders were down 14.3% in March compared to the same month in 2011.
The national statistics agency said the figure, which had not been adjusted for seasonal factors, was the biggest fall since August 2009. There was some positive news though, as Istat added that March's industrial orders were up 3.5% on February this year.
Industrial turnover was 3.1% down in March compared to the same month last year and unchanged with respect to February 2012. Istat said weak domestic demand was a big factor in the falls in orders and turnover.