Beleaguered Italy needs to spend $11.8bn a month on lockdown aid

The money will go to help businesses and workers during restrictions to contain the pandemic, according to sources.

A tougher lockdown running into March could cost 40-50 billion euros ($47-$59bn) or three percent of Italy's gross domestic product, sources said [File: Bloomberg]
A tougher lockdown running into March could cost 40-50 billion euros ($47-$59bn) or three percent of Italy's gross domestic product, sources said [File: Bloomberg]

Italy needs to spend up to 10 billion euros ($11.8 billion) a month on extra aid for businesses and workers during restrictions to contain the coronavirus, according to people familiar with the situation.

Government officials estimate that during lockdowns, the country requires support of at least 6 billion euros a month. Virus measures may have to become tougher through the winter, the people said, which would push the bill to the higher figure. That means a tougher lockdown running into March could cost 40-50 billion euros, the people said. That’s about 3% of Italian GDP.

The government has already approved 8 billion euros in support this month, but the country is only in a partial lockdown covering a few regions. Spending would have to increase if virus cases rise and tougher restrictions are needed, said the people, who declined to be named because the discussions are confidential.

A Treasury official said that, at this time, only the approved spending plans and forecasts are confirmed.

While the November relief package will probably come from savings from previous packages and won’t create extra debt, mounting expenses beyond that would likely have to be financed with additional borrowing.

Debt is already set to hit almost 160% of gross domestic product this year after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte approved 100 billion euros in stimulus earlier this year to support businesses and families during the first wave of the pandemic.

Source : Bloomberg

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