Italy provided yet another fiscal disappointment last week when Eurostat, the European Communities' stats bureau, revised its outlook on the treatment of a number of securitization transactions and in the process rejected the 2003 and 2004 GDP figures that the Italian government released in March.

Those estimates showed a 2.9% deficit in 2003 and 3% in 2004 - maintaining Italy's deficit within the Maastricht debt criteria, which requires European Monetary Unit nations to maintain budget deficit levels of 3% of GDP. Eurostat provisionally revised the Italian deficit for 2003 and 2004 to 3.1%. Public debt, meanwhile, was estimated at 106.5% of GDP in 2003 and 106.8% in 2004. The European Commission had forecast Italian budget deficits of 3.6% in 2005, and 4.6% in 2006, before Eurostat published the revised figures.

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