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Repeats Story Initially Transmitted at 12:15 GMT Dec 29/07:15 EST Dec 29
--ABI Also Calling Italy GDP Higher, Sees 1.6% Growth In 2019
By Silvia Marchetti
     LONDON (MNI) - The net volume of bad loans sitting on Italian lenders'
balance sheets is expected to drop E43 billion by 2019, falling to E42.5
billion, the ABI, the nation's banking lobby said Friday. 
     The ABI also noted that credit flows and bank profitability levels would
pick up significantly.
     In its 2017-2019 Financial Outlook report, the ABI also upped its GDP
forecasts for Italy to 1.5% in 2017-2018, and to 1.6% in 2019.
     The support for Italy's recovery primarily stems from the "prudent"
monetary policy of the European Central Bank, said the ABI, noting that the ECB
is supporting growth consolidation. 
     The ratio of net bad loans to total loans will drop to 2% by mid-2019,
added the report, while lending to the real economy is expected to grow 2.8% in
the next two years. 
     According to the lobby group, the Italian and European economies are in
fine shape now, but downward risks remain, stemming mainly from geopolitical
tensions and rising protectionist threats. 
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2225; email: les.commons@marketnews.com
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 | les.commons@marketnews.com