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Italy's industry lobby warns of "economic earthquake" from energy prices

·1-min read
Docks are seen at the sunset at the Industrial port of Marghera in the lagoon of Venice

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy must respond to an "economic earthquake" from rising energy costs, the head of the country's business lobby said on Thursday, adding that companies could not afford to wait for a new government before getting more help.

Confindustria boss Carlo Bonomi demanded a cap on the price of gas "if not a European level, then at a national one," in an interview with Italy's RTL 102.5 radio.

"What we are facing is an economic earthquake," Bonomi said, adding that energy costs in Italy were among the highest in Europe.

"We can't wait for two months, the time it is expected to take until we have a new government, jeopardising the Italian industrial system, the income and the jobs of Italian families," he added.

Italy will hold a national election on Sept. 25, with the administration led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi still in office and tasked with dealing with pressing current issues.

The Italian government has set aside more than 50 billion euros ($50 billion) this year to try to soften the hit of higher energy costs for firms and households

Business lobby Confcommercio warned on Wednesday that about 120,000 Italian service sector firms could go out of business over the next ten months due to surging energy costs, with 370,000 job losses. ($1 = 0.9979 euros)

(Reporting by Federica Urso; editing by Keith Weir)