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Economy in Brief

Italian Industrial Sales and Orders Steady: German Business Optimism Grows
by Louise Curley December 19, 2006

Italian industrial sales in October increased 1.19% from September and were up 9.88% from October 2005. While foreign industrial sales dipped almost 1%, domestic sales increased 2%. A somewhat more subdued picture is shown by orders. Total orders declined 0.17% in October, with foreign orders, down 0.63% and domestic orders up 0.09% Domestic and foreign orders were, however, well above year ago figures, with domestic orders up14.49% and foreign, 10.88%. Domestic and foreign sales are shown in the first chart and domestic and foreign orders in the second.

Earlier this month German institutional investors and analysts of the ZEW survey swung from being pessimistic to being optimistic about conditions over the next six months. The businessmen represented in the IFO survey had been more positive than the financial types for several previous months. This month they continue to be optimistic regarding the current conditions and expectations for the next six months. The overall index at 108.7 has regained the peak reached when the series began in January, 1991 as can be seen in the third chart which shows the entire history of the series. The history of the business men's appraisal of current conditions and their expectations for the next six months are show in the fourth chart where the current values are at or near all time highs.

ITALY INDUSTRIAL ORDERS AND SALES (2000=100) Oct 06 Sep 06 Oct 05 M/M% Y/Y% 2005 2004 2003
Industrial Sales  119.0 117.6 108.3 1.19 9.88 107.5 104.1 101.8
     Domestic 116.3 114.0 106.9 2.02 8.79 106.4 104.1 101.9
     Foreign 126.4 127.5 112.0 -0.86 12.86 110.7 104.0 101.4
Industrial Orders  117.1 117.3 103.4 -0.17 13.25 102.8 99.0 95.3
     Domestic 113.0 112.9 98.7 0.09 14.49 98.9 96.8 93.9
     Foreign 126.4 127.2 114.0 -0.63 10.88 111.6 103.7 98.7
GERMANY IFO SURVEY (2000=100) Dec  06 Nov 06 Dec 05 M/M% Y/Y% 2006 2005 2004
Overall 108.7 106.8 99.5 1.78 9.25 105.5 95.5 95.4
Current Conditions 115.3 113.9 98.8 1.23 16.70 108.4 94.7 93.1
Expectations 6 Months Ahead 102.5 100.2 100.3 2.30 2.19 102.7 96.3 97.8
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