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Economy in Brief

EMU Retail Sales Volumes Erode At Slow Pace
by Robert Brusca June 4, 2009

EMU area retail sales volume is still eroding but at a slow pace. The volume drop in the past three months was just 0.2% per month Retail sales have been declining in the Area but have not been as weak as in the US. Passenger car registrations in Europe have begun to take off as several nations’ scrappage plans have encouraged consumers to buy new vehicles.

Europe’s consumers still face hurdles. Unemployment is rising and is still probably in is early sages of increasing; France reported a surge in unemployment in Q1 just today as its rate jumped to 9.1% from 8% in Q4. Spain’s rate has climbed up over 18% to nearly 19%. Consumer confidence is low throughout the Area, although it has been edging up. Income preservation polices have helped consumers to hold the line on spending. Sensitive cyclical surveys in the form of purchaser indices show that MFG and Service sectors are coming up from their lows. With these positive pulses in train any further damage to consumption from rising unemployment could be limited.

Euro Area Retail Sales Volume
  M/M Saar
  Apr-09 Mar-09 Feb-09 3-Mo 6-MO 12-Mo
Zone Total -0.2% -0.2% -0.2% -2.5% -2.9% -2.6%
Food, Beverage, and Tobacco -0.1% -0.1% -0.2% -1.8% -2.1% -2.1%
Motor Vehicle Reg 5.9% -1.7% 20.4% 146.8% 8.4% -8.1%
Non-Food Country detail: Volume
Germany 0.5% -0.4% 0.0% 0.4% -1.5% -0.3%
UK (EU) 0.9% 1.2% -2.1% -0.4% 3.9% 2.7%
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