Thursday, November 27, 2008

Postcards from Bella Italy

Ciao (pronounced chaow). Spent last week in Italy, courtesy of the entity that pays my salary. Let me share some facts and figures on Italy:

Italy is a founding member of EU and G8. It was ranked as the seventh largest economy in 2006, behind US, Japan, Germany, China, UK and France. The economy remains divided into a developed industrial north and a less developed agricultural south. The less developed south is a haven for organised crime.

Italy has a smaller number of MNCs than other economies of comparable size. Instead, the main economic strength has been its large base of SME companies.

The major exports are motor vehicles (Fiat, Aprilia, Ducati, Piaggio), petrochemicals (Eni), electricity (Edison), home appliances (Merloni, Candy), aerospace/defense (Alenia, Agusta), firearms (Beretta); but the more famous exports are fashion (Gucci, Armani, Valentino, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Benetton, Prada), food (Ferrero, Barilla, Martini & Rossi, Parmalat), luxury vehicles (Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini).

Italy is ranked as the fifth major tourist destination in the world, with over 43.7 million tourists a year.

However, the financial crisis did not spare Italy. The banks have weathered the crisis better than their European peers but its economy contracted by 0.5% in the 3rd quarter, the steepest quarterly fall for a decade. Analysts expect the recession to continue for at least three more quarters and full year GDP is seen falling by around 0.3% in 2008.

Prime Minister Berlusconi urged Italians to keep shopping. From observation, they are heeding the advice as the malls were mostly packed with local and Japanese shoppers looking for Gucci, Prada and French brand Louis Vuitton!

Grazie (pronounced graatseeyay). Chiveo


hoeyin said...

apasal muka sedih going on holiday. posing gaya sikit la.

CheeWee said...

sejuk bro! Orang Msia pakai short & singlet pagoda, manalah biasa pakai tebal-tebal!