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Retailers warn businesses risk going bankrupt in Italy due to soaring energy prices

Max Civili
Press TV, Rome

On Wednesday Italy's largest retailers association Confcommercio warned that over 120,000 small businesses risk shutting down in the first half of 2023.

The association said firms are squeezed by the cost-of-living and skyrocketing energy prices. The president of Confcommercio Carlo Sangalli urged the government to do more to shield small and medium entrepreneurs as the situation for many is now very critical.

Last month Italy's outgoing government approved an aid package worth some 14 billion Euros in an attempt to shield firms and families from surging energy costs.

The measure came on top of over 50 billion Euros already budgeted since January to soften the energy crisis in the country. However the aid seems to be insufficient as an increasing number of businesses are struggling to stay afloat.

According to Confcommercio more than 370,000 jobs are at risk as a result of the energy crisis. Meanwhile, energy giant Eni announced that gas supplies to Italy from Russia have resumed after four days.

Russia's state-controlled Gazprom cut off gas supplies to Italy on Saturday, citing a problem linked to regulatory changes in Austria.

Italy's national energy regulator Arera warned last week that prices would climb by almost 60 percent by the end of the year but experts argue that its estimate was optimistic. Gas bills have risen by 93 percent in Italy over the past two years and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine together with the damage recently sustained by Nord Stream pipelines is likely to push costs even higher.

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