(AGI) Rome, Sept 23 - Italy's economy "is finally emerging fromrecession after three and a half years of contraction", saidratings agency Standard & Poor's in their report on Italy onWednesday. "The recovery is likely to be lukewarm because oflow salary growth and the high rate of unemployment, which holdback consumer demand more than in other eurozone countries,"the report continued. "Although there are signs of animprovement in Italian exports," says the report, "asustainable recovery will still require a strong surge ininvestment." "The Italian economy in the first quarter of thisyear - says Standard & Poor's - came back to life with a realgrowth in GDP of 0.4 percent over the previous quarter. Thispositive result has put an end to three and a half years ofrecession, during which real output had contracted by 5.4percent. The statistics office's estimates for the secondquarter confirm this general improvement with a growth in GDPof 0.3 percent and 0.7 percent year-on-year. Since then the SMEindex has risen to its highest level in five years, whileconsumer confidence has reached levels not seen since 2008".(AGI).