RTTNews - The pace of the Italian economic contraction eased notably in the second quarter, a preliminary report from the statistical office Istat showed Friday.

Gross domestic product or GDP fell 0.5% in the second quarter following a revised 2.7% drop in the first three months of the year. Economists had forecast the economy to shrink 0.7%. The economy has been contracting since the second quarter of 2008.

On an annual basis, GDP dropped 6%, at the same pace it fell in the first quarter, while the forecast was for a 6.1% decline.

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