Reuters

ROME — Italy’s economy shrank by less than expected in the second quarter, adding to recent signs its longest post-war recession is bottoming out but still marking the eighth consecutive quarter of contraction.

Gross domestic product fell 0.2 percent following a 0.6 contraction in the first three months, and dropped 2.0 percent on an annual basis, national statistics bureau ISTAT reported on Tuesday.

A Reuters survey of analysts had expected a second quarter fall of 0.4 percent, down 2.2 percent annually. Leading indicators over the last few weeks have suggested the recession is easing and many analysts are predicting a return to very modest growth in the fourth or possibly even the third quarter. It fits with a general easing of decline across much of the euro zone.