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Economy in Brief

 Italian Consumers More Pessimistic in December
by Louise Curley December 21, 2004

After becoming more confident in each month from June through October, Italian consumers lost confidence in the last two months. Overall consumer confidence fell 0.38% in December after having fallen 1.61% in November.

At a level of 103.5 (1980=100) in December, consumer confidence was only 4.05% above the low reached in January and February of this year and was 17.66% below the peak of June 2001.

Consumers viewed their personal economic situation positively, on balance, but while they were positive about their current situation, they were pessimistic regarding their future situation.

One factor that may have affected the confidence of the Italian consumer is the slow growth in employment. Employment data for the third quarter, released yesterday, show that total employment declined 0.03% in the quarter and was only 0.76% above the level of the third quarter of 2003. The growth in employment and the level of consumer confidence are shown in the attached chart.

Consumer Confidence (1980=100) Dec 04 Nov 04 Dec 03 M/M % Y/Y %  2004   2003    2002    2001   
Over all Indicator 103.5 103.9 104.9 -0.38 -1.32 101.5 106.2 115.8 122.6
  Gen. econ outlook 89.7 91.4 93.6 -1.86 -4.17 88.6 91.4 105.2 114.9
   Personal econ situation 109.9 109.4 110.0 0.46 -1.09 107.9 113.5 121.1 126.5
   Current situation 102.1 101.4 103.3 0.69 -1.16 102.0 105.1 117.6 124.6
   Future situation 103.2 106.0 106.1 -2.17 -2.26 100.8 107.2 113.4 120.3
  Q3 04 Q2 O4 Q3 04 Q/Q % Y/Y %    2003    2002    2001   
Employment  (Thousands) 22417 22424 22247 -0.03 0.76   22231 21917 21632
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