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Italy unveils 2018 budget aimed at boosting employment, investment

The Italian government presented a 2018 budget that contains measures aimed at encouraging investment and curbing youth unemployment, Reuters reported.

The proposed budget would give tax breaks to companies that invest in new machinery, according to Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan. It also would provide a three-year cut in the pension contributions of firms that employ people under the age of 35 on regular, open-ended contracts.

With the 2018 budget, Italy seeks to lower its budget deficit to 1.6% of GDP from a 2.1% target this year, according to Reuters.

The budget now goes to the European Commission for review while the country's parliament will also start working on passage of the financial package.

In September, the government raised its GDP growth forecast for 2017 to 1.5% from 1.1%, and for 2018 to 1.5% from 1.0%. The debt-to-GDP ratio target for next year is 130.0%, down from this year's 131.6% target.