No plan to change GDP forecast after austerity: Tremonti

Reuters

ROME (Reuters) - Italy does not currently plan to change its economic growth forecasts as a result of its latest austerity plan, Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti said on Saturday.

Italy forecasts economic growth of 1.1 percent this year and 1.3 percent in 2012.

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"For now we don't plan to change our forecasts," Tremonti told a news conference to explain the plan, which contains tax hikes and spending cuts worth some 45.5 billion euros to balance the budget in 2013.

Analysts say the austerity program, approved by the cabinet late on Friday, will hit consumer confidence and weaken already weak domestic demand.

Tremonti said he believed measures of "liberalization and simplification" contained in the plan could help growth and that benefit would also come from a plan to celebrate some national holidays on Sundays rather than working days.

(Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni, writing by Gavin Jones)