ROME, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- The disposable income of consumer households in Italy grew slightly in the third quarter of 2018 compared to the previous quarter, while their purchasing power dropped, the country's National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) said on Monday.
Latest data showed the gross disposable income of families grew by 0.1 percent, and their final consumption expenditure grew by 0.3 percent between July and September against the previous three months.
The consumer household saving rate consequently dropped by 0.2 points to 8.3 percent in the same period, ISTAT said.
Considering the effects of inflation, however, the gross disposable income in real terms - which measures the families' purchasing power - decreased by 0.2 percentage points in the Q3 compared to the previous quarter.
"Give such trends, the households have maintained their level of consumption in volume almost untouched, thanks to a slight reduction in their propensity to save," the agency highlighted.
Comparing the Q3 of 2018 to the same quarter of 2017, the household purchasing power showed a 0.8 percent increase.
In the same report, ISTAT also stated the tax burden ratio reached 40.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter, rising by 0.1 percent on the annual basis.
The country's deficit-to-GDP ratio improved slightly in the third quarter, posting a 1.7 percent against 1.8 percent registered in the same period of 2017, according to the agency.
ISTAT added that the governments' current and primary balances were both positive in the same period, and their ratio to GDP stood at 1.1 percent and 2.0 percent, respectively.
The improvement in the deficit-to-GDP ratio was registered up to September, before the Italian government submitted to the European Union (EU) a new draft budget originally foreseeing a substantial deficit increase.
Such budgetary plan sparked a controversy with the EU Commission, which threatened to open an infringement procedure against the country for excessive deficit.
The row was finally settled in the second half of December, after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's cabinet agreed to lower its budget deficit target at 2.04 percent of GDP in 2019 from 2.4 percent originally proposed.
According to latest figures released in September, Italy's deficit in 2017 was 2.4 percent of GDP.