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European markets drop, paced by Italy, on growth fears

September 21, 2012 Ansa
Markets fell across Europe on Thursday, paced by Milan's FTSE MIB index, as stocks suffered the effects of growing concern over slowing global economic growth. Reports released on Thursday on the manufacturing industry in China showed the sector could contract for an 11th month and that Japanese exports fell in the month of August.

A separate research report showed that services and manufacturing contracted in the 17-member euro region to levels below three year-lows.

The FTSE MIB index dropped 1.7% to 15,830 points. The Italian government met Thursday to discuss the economic outlook of the euro region's third-largest economy, and slashed economic forecasts for this year to a 2.4% contraction and next year to a 0.2% decline in gross domestic product.

The revisions were announced after the government met Thursday to discuss amendments to the official Economic and Financial Planning Document (DPEF) blueprint last released in 2009 for the 2010-2014 period, which saw growth dropping 1.2% in 2012, and rising 0.5% in 2013. The International Monetary Fund and Italy's employers association Confindustria are amongst the entities that have already slashed their outlook for Italian growth in recent months. The yield spread between 10-year Italian bonds and the German benchmark fell, as investor concern about the ongoing debt crisis was offset by the possibility of concrete action by the region's political leaders in conjunction with the European Central Bank.

The spread, a barometer of Italy's borrowing costs in the eurozone crisis, closed at 341 points with 10-year yields at 5%.

The Frankfurt Dax bourse index was flat at 7,389, while the Paris Cac 40 index fell 0.62% to 3,509 points. Madrid's Ibex index dropped 1% to 8,022 points. London's Ftse-100 stock market closed down 0.6% on 5,854 points.