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Economy in Brief

Italian Confidence Rebounds in June
by Robert Brusca  June 27, 2017

Italian consumer and business confidence rose in June. Business confidence reverses the decline of last month but still leaves the June reading below the level of April, but just ahead of March. Consumer confidence for June also rose by one point and it too reverses a drop from the month before and leaves the June level still below the April level; apart from last month consumer confidence was last lower in September 2016.

Italian consumer confidence is in a long slide lower with the second phase of erosion having a less steep gradient than the first phase which offset a sharp run up in confidence from late-2014. The first phase of runoff extended from late-2015 to late-2016. In this second leg of decline, there is a short phase very late in 2016 of confidence rebuilding itself before the deterioration in phase two began.

Consumer confidence was last persistently weaker than it is now in January 2015 and earlier. Business confidence is still above the levels it attained when it ran up in early-2015.

Ranked in its queue of historic values, consumer confidence sits in its 74th percentile compared to business confidence in its 82nd percentile.

For consumer confidence, the overall situation over the last 12 months improved in June and rose to -47 from -51, logging a queue percentile standing in its 84th percentile. Looking ahead over the next 12 months, the overall situation improved to -12 from -14, posting a rank (or queue) standing in its 46th percentile, below its median. Unemployment expectations rose to -7 from -9, logging a still-low 27th percentile reading. The household budget index was unchanged at 9 for a 76th percentile standing. The household situation for the last 12 months is assessed as much stronger than over the next 12 months as the last 12-month gauge has an 81st percentile standing and the look-ahead reading has a 26th percentile standing. However, the prospect for saving in the future is assessed as better on a percentile standing basis. The environment for making a major purchase deteriorated by one index point in June to a 77.8% percentile standing, a relatively firm reading. On balance, there seems to still be a good deal of distress lurking in the background for households, but it is not affecting fears of unemployment or plans for spending and so the economy continues to do relatively well.

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