The Rome based research centre has put the business sentiment index at 71.7, above the 70 points economists were predicting. Industrial production has bounced in Italy since April after government incentives supported the automobile and home appliance industries. Exports to fellow European nations also rose by 0.4% in the month of May.

The rise in business confidence is also accompanied by a rise in consumer confidence, which reached the highest level in two years. European car sales also rose in June for the first time in 14 months and there is growing hope that the production cycle will gain momentum in coming months.

The figures have made little difference to the euro exchange rate which is currently at GBP0.8569 and USD1.4040

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