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Economy in Brief

Italy: Retail Sales Follows Consumer Confidence Lower
by Robert Brusca June 26, 2008

Italy’s retail sales and consumer confidence are in sync or perhaps I should say ‘in sink’, since sinking it what they are both doing.

Italy’s retail sales in real terms are falling at a 5.1% annual rate in 2008-Q1, that is one month into the new quarter. In April real sales fell by 0.2% while nominal sales were flat. Yr/Yr real retail sales are off by 0.9%.

In general consumer data in the Zone have been weak and the industrial data have been relatively stronger. Normally with such weak consumer data we would be staring straight at recession. In this business cycle it is still not clear that recession is either inevitable or avoidable. Among the large EMU countries Italy has been the weakest. Conditions in the Zone remain touch and go with problems that span construction, a strong euro exchange rate, financial turmoil and the dual and opposite depressing and inflation-making impact of high oil prices.

Italy Retail Sales Growth Rates
  mo/mo % At annual rates
Nominal Apr-08 Mar-08 Feb-08 3-MO 6-MO 12-MO YrAGo Q-2-Date
Retail Trade 0.0% -0.6% 0.3% -1.5% -1.1% -0.4% 0.6% -2.0%
Food Beverages & Tobacco 0.0% -0.4% 0.4% 0.0% 0.2% 0.9% 0.4% -0.8%
Clothing & Furniture -4.1% -2.8% 1.4% -20.2% -11.8% -4.9% 0.0% -28.6%
Total Real Retail -0.2% -1.1% 0.2% -4.3% -5.0% -3.6% -0.9% -5.1%
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