RTTNews - The Italian economy fell deeper into recession in the first quarter with gross domestic product, or GDP, falling 2.4% from the previous quarter, the statistical office Istat said Friday. That was the biggest decline since the series began in 1980.

The economic contraction in the first quarter was a touch higher than the expected 2.3% fall. In the fourth quarter, GDP fell a revised 2.1% following declines of 0.8% and 0.6% in the third and second quarters.

On an annual basis, the economy shrunk at a faster pace of 5.9% in the first quarter, compared with a revised 3% decline in the fourth quarter. The annual decline also exceeded economists' expectations for a 5.2% drop.

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