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Trading and Procurement Policy

Macroeconomic scenario

In the year 2009, the real estate property crisis, due to the burst of the bubble on subprime mortgages, led to a financial crisis which had a strong impact on the real economy. In spite of some hints of recovery recorded over the last months, the year ended with a heavy economic negative balance for a great number of developed countries.

Unfortunately, Italy is no exception and features a 5% reduction in GDP compared to the previous year. In particular, the Bank of Italy highlighted up to 25% drop in industrial production, that is to say a return to the volumes which were recorded in the mid-1980s. The investment assets and intermediate assets are two of the hardest hit sectors, above all due to the plummeting of exports. These sectors showed uncertain expectations of recovery, while other sectors, such as building and services, showed a better reaction to crisis. Although a bettering during the second half of the year was recorded, the general situation had an impact on energy consumption as well. Consumption, in fact, remarkably decreased and, statistically, even to a surprisingly greater extend with respect to the GDP.

Influenced by the drop in industrial production and the reduced output of services (much less, even if there is an influence, by conservation policies and changes in the habits of final users), the balance for the year recorded a total consumption of 180.31 Mtep (million TEP Ton Equivalent Petroleum) compared to 191.30 in 2008, with a 5.7% drop, a record reduction accompanied by a fall in demand for electricity, slightly higher than 6.7%, which underlines the extent of recession.

As for resources, a general shrinkage was recorded in all fossil resources: oil demand dropped by 6.4%, and gas demand showed an even heavier 7.9% reduction. Solid fuels recorded a 18% drop, equal to 13.7 Mtep, a step backwards to the first years 2000 and much far away from the peak of 2006-2007. It should be noted that the mix of primary resources not only highlights a strong growth in renewable resources, but also records, for the first time ever, an increase in oil weight with respect to gas and solid fuels: paradoxically, a return to past, in the diversification process as well.

As regards renewable sources, their contribution was equal to 18.66 Mtep, up by slightly less than 10% compared to 16.99% in 2008. Hydroelectricity, mainly by reason of favourable elements for hydro sources, as well as wind, played a special role. There are however hints of a strong development for photovoltaic sources and the use of biomass, which are still to be monitored.

As for currency, the first half of 2009 was characterised by a remarkable nominal devaluation of the dollar with respect to the euro, while a significant revaluation of the green note, mainly due to concerns connected with country risks (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain), occurred at year-end. The first half of 2010 might be affected as well by a revaluation trend of the dollar, as a result of the greater difficulties amongst governments which might arise in eurozone. In 2009, the average exchange rate was 1.39 dollar/euro, remarkably down compared to 2008 (-5%), but still to maximum level with respect to 2005.

As regards market rates, like the Federal Reserve (Fed), which reduced the reference rate by multiplying the various modalities of injecting liquidity in the system, the European Central Bank (ECB) cut the reference rate to 1%.

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