ROME, May 31 (Xinhua) -- Energy prices in Italy were down sharply in May, pushing the overall inflation rate lower to reverse a recent trend, the country's National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) reported on Wednesday.
In a separate release, ISTAT also said the country's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.6 percent in the first quarter (Q1) of the year compared with the previous quarter and increased by 1.9 percent year-on-year.
The GDP growth figures were higher than the preliminary estimate of 0.5 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, according to ISTAT.
Energy prices surged significantly last year after the start of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, pushing inflation in Italy and in many other countries to record highs.
In Italy, the broad inflation rate reached its highest level in nearly a quarter-century since the creation of the euro currency zone -- at 11.8 percent in both October and November 2022 compared to a year earlier. It came down steadily since then before rising between March and April as energy prices temporarily spiked.
The downward trend in May -- 7.6 percent year-on-year and down from 8.2 percent in April -- was caused by a slowing in the cost of non-regulated energy products, to 20.5 percent from 26.6 percent previously, ISTAT said.
Aside from energy prices, other sectors that contribute to the inflation rate saw less change.
With positive GDP growth in the first quarter of the year, Italy avoided entering into a technical recession following a mild 0.1 percent economic contraction in the fourth quarter of last year.