In 2012 the global financial crisis continued to cause rapid changes in the economic and geopolitical scenarios; all EU countries faced significant instability until Mario Draghi, the ECB President, claimed that the Euro is irreversible. By announcing that it would buy the short-term government bonds of struggling countries in unlimited amounts (Outright Monetary Transactions - OMT), the ECB effectively stopped the financial crisis from spreading. Since last autumn, the banking system faced a calmer situation, which eased funding pressures and allowed the banks to continue to rebalance their funding profiles.

5 years on from the global financial crisis, the world economy has still not defined effective economic policies to stimulate growth, and the austerity plans aimed at curbing the national deficit and debt have significantly hampered the real economy.

As for Italy, in 2012 calendar-adjusted GDP contracted by 2,2% compared to the previous year, and the average unemployment rate rose to 10,7% (8,4% in 2011). The business confidence index fell sharply; the manufacturing sector continued to suffer due to both collapsing demand and the credit crunch. The prolonged crisis caused credit quality to deteriorate: the banking system was very selective in lending to sound companies. However, credit-risk propensity fell, and this did not help the manufacturing sector, causing the economy to deteriorate further.

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