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According to the preliminary estimates provided by Istat, in 2017 the pace of growth in the regions of the North West and North East was higher than in the South and the Centre. In 2017 all the macro-areas benefited from the favourable performance of exports, whose impact on economic activity was nevertheless greater in the Centre and North, where the export share in value-added terms is higher. Employment growth displayed a similar pattern across the country.

Compared with 2007, in 2017 GDP was lower by around 4 percentage points in the Centre and North and by around 9 points in the South. Demographic developments attenuated the divergence in per capita terms because the population of the Centre and North grew much more than that of the South, owing to migration both within Italy and from abroad. Between 2007 and 2017 GDP per capita fell by more than 8 percentage points in the Centre and North and by 10 points in the South.

According to the Bank of Italy indicator that monitors quarterly economic activity in the macro-areas (ITER) GDP kept on growing in the first two quarters of 2018 in the South and North West of the country while stagnated in the Centre and North East. Investment growth continued in all the macro-areas while export growth declined throughout Italy, particularly in the Centre.