In the end we got there, then. After a lot of talking and writing about forecasts for the near future of the country's economic situation, the Government has made official (29 September) its estimates. We return to it later. First there are some considerations. Following television reports and journalistic reports, a question arises spontaneously. But what can most people really understand?

The government's estimates are contained in the NADEF, a document that refers to the DEF and contains data on GDP, deficit, public debt and much more. Here, already said so, I wonder with enormous respect what a normal, non-professional person with a normal life and occupation can understand.

Meanwhile, what is the NADEF? This is the Update Note to the Economics and Finance Document which at the end of September 2021 revised and updated the DEF (issued last April), Economics and Finance Document, forgive the tedious repetitions. Author, the Ministry of Economy and Finance. These are documents of great importance in the economic management of the country, income and expenses, drawn up by the Government and on which the so-called "maneuvers" are based among other things in which interventions and measures are decided whose effects in the end, for good and in the worst, they reach our wallet of ordinary citizens.

I have the feeling that you don't worry too much about explaining well, using clear and simple terms, but taking knowledge and understanding too much for granted.

Let's take an example. The saving private in Italy it is high, the indicators say, even in comparison with other countries. It increased due to the pandemic, at least in the first lockdown phase, with the recession in consumption. Obviously there would be other aspects to add, sometimes dramatic. But on the specific point, in a nutshell, he did not spend because he is closed at home and because of the great uncertainty about the future, and a high level of savings is excellent news, we are provident ants.

But as always there is a downside. In a period of low or very low interest rates, which pay little for the money saved, it would be better to give that money a productive outlet, investing in the economy and thus helping to restart it.

So I wonder if private savings are not so high because, in addition to the fear of the future, there is not enough knowledge on the part of citizens. If not lack of awareness on how the economy works, on the mechanisms and ways in which financial resources (therefore also private savings) can and must be invested and used in productive activities. Rightly, if we don't know, we don't.

As always, there is a risk of too much approximation when generalizing. But the suspicion arises, that it is a bit like that. When we hear about NADEF taking knowledge for granted, we naturally ask ourselves: are we really sure that in our country there is a modern and attentive training and information context, in favor of citizens?

In a recent article in the newspaper “Il Sole 24 Ore”, explicit reference was made to precisely these aspects of financial culture that are missing. I would also add economic. It cited research by international organizations of the highest level such as the OECD and the World Bank on the level of financial education of individual countries, where Italy does not really make a good impression.

In the "OECD / INFE International Survey of Financial Adult Literacy", released in 2020, a beautiful 78-page document full of information and tables which, by comparing the many countries adhering to the OECD, confirm how much Italy has a huge job to do on the subject. We are behind, too far behind. And, as always, nothing passes without consequences. Incidentally, OECD stands for Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, in Italian OECD, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a very authoritative body of international studies of an essentially economic nature that brings together many developed countries of the world with market economies.

In my opinion, the discourse is extremely important but very complex, since it concerns basic issues such as school education at all levels, the role of intermediate bodies of society and the media, of whatever kind they are, with all their positive characteristics. and negative: doing a quality journalism costs and newspapers have fewer and fewer resources available, but precisely the discussion would take us very far and there is no need to dwell on it here.

Let's go back to the question: the Government has issued a document of great importance for the life of the country and for the near future of all citizens. But it requires some effort to understand (it's 136 pages, suffice it to say), which needs to be helped by someone. The media have, should have, this task. It is no longer permissible not to know. In a world as complex and interrelated as the present one, it is very easy for what might happen in China to have consequences, shortly after, on my personal economic and financial condition. Several times even in these articles of ours we have tried to underline and make sense of this "spider web" that surrounds the world.

And then we see something of these data released by the government in the NADEF. First of all the GDP, Gross domestic product. It measures the value of everything that is produced in the country, in a given period, in terms of goods and services. In fact it is the indicator of wealth. The higher it is, the better the conditions in the country, even if in reality the matter is a little more complicated than that.

So what did the government say? That GDP for 2021 will increase by about 6% compared to the previous year, while in April, in the first forecast contained in the DEF, it was estimated to grow by 4,5%. We take into account that in 2020 it had decreased by 8,9%. For 2022 it is estimated that it will grow by 4,2% and in 2023 by 2,6% and finally in 2024 by 1,9%.

It is not possible to go into details here, but it should be emphasized that the "rebound" of the economy after the very difficult phase of Covid is substantial, more than expected. This effect gradually subsides and disappears completely. Here many other considerations come into play, starting with the ability that we will demonstrate to treasure (it is appropriate to say it) the mass of money from Europe with the so-called PNRR (National Plan of Resistance and Resilience), which will be able to create conditions for stable and sustainable growth, not anemic from zero point something, as it was long before the pandemic. Not easy at all.

The unemployment rate was 9,3% in 2020, it is estimated at 9,6% this year and then gradually decreasing to 7,9% in 2024. The creation of jobs, and the recovery of those lost, it has more relaxed times and less flamboyant incidences.

Il deficit it is the negative measure of the difference between State income and expenditure, and everyone knows how dangerous it is to spend more than what is available to us. The relationship between the deficit and GDP is a very important indicator. How much that difference affects the value of the wealth produced.

Well, the government says that for the current year this ratio is estimated to be 9,4%. Another figure in clear improvement compared to the forecast made in April which indicated 11,8%. It means that the economic situation has improved more than expected, significantly, allowing some of that difference to be reabsorbed.

Il debt in relation to GDP it is the other crucial indicator of economic health. For Italy, for decades, a worry, a significant weakness. Debt is in fact the exposure that the state has towards those who lend it money and which it must repay with interest. The incidence of debt on GDP identifies how much of the wealth produced in the country must be allocated to the interest to be paid on that debt. It is easy to understand that that incidence is reduced either by decreasing the mass of debts or by raising GDP, therefore economic growth.

The NADEF has therefore estimated that 2021 will have a ratio between public debt and GDP equal to 153,5%: it is essential to remember that in the horrible year 2020 it was 155,6%, a level never reached before, and that in DEF of last April it was expected that the current year would close with a very worrying 159,8%. In fact, many have written and spoken with fear, if not fear, of this fact: in the end, sooner or later the debts must be paid. Progressively, but steadily, the debt-to-GDP ratio falls to 143,3% by 2024, NADEF argues. It is always high, but it is essential that it is decreasing.

I do not add any other data. These already prove that the country is in a phase of consistent recovery, for the moment in a sort of peak (in fact post Covid rebound). Manufacturing and exports, for example, are showing excellent reactivity. The deficit and public debt are on a virtuous path of improvement.

The recovery should therefore consolidate between now and 2024. But that “should” hides many ifs and many buts. There are various positive signs, at the same time also many complexities and fragilities that concern the whole world (the "spider's web") and therefore also Italy, which can make the situation evolve in one direction rather than another.

There is no shortage of optimists but not even pessimists. Repeated climate disasters, difficulties in global supply chains and shortages of raw materials, the trend of inflation that is raising its head, Covid still present: these are all factors whose simultaneous presence and resurgence could make them explosive.

Indicators are now trending favorably, but fragility and uncertainties can quickly change the picture.

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