Italy's economy finally stopped contracting in the third quarter after two years of decline, and a firm rise in industrial output in October reinforced expectations the country will return to growth in the last three months of the year.
France continued to falter, however, with data yesterday showing industrial output fell for a second straight month in October, although manufacturing production rebounded.
The Italian national statistics bureau ISTAT said gross domestic product -- a measure of the size of the economy -- will be unchanged for the July-to-September period, better than original estimates that suggested the economy would continue to shrink.
Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni said it marked a turning point.
"ISTAT has certified that the recession is over," he tweeted from Brussels. "In the fourth quarter, GDP will rise and with the recovery for companies we will finally see an improvement of the job situation."
Italy's jobless rate stands at a record high of 12.5pc and youth unemployment is above 41pc.
"From a technical point of view this data is not sufficient to say the recession is over," a spokesman for ISTAT said. He added that before rounding, GDP had shown another marginal decline in the third quarter. (Reuters)