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Slight Drop In Italian Consumer Confidence

James Boston
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Slight Drop In Italian Consumer Confidence

The Italian Consumer Confidence reading has just been published by the National Institute of Statistics for the month of June. This figure remains elevated but fell back slightly to read at 105.7 which represents a pullback from the multi year peak seen in the May number of 106.3, consensus estimates were for there to be no change to the indicator this month.

The release of April’s Retail Sales figures earlier this morning pointed towards strong consumer sentiment in Italy. The non-seasonally adjusted year on year reading showed strong growth in the retail sector with sales increasing 2.6% compared to a contraction of -3.5% in March. Month on month the Retail Sales number improved to 0.4% on a seasonally adjusted basis, this also represented a reversal of a March contraction which was recorded at -0.2%.

The Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, has publically called for a relaxation of EU austerity policies. Speaking in the Italian national parliament ahead of this week’s summit of EU leaders in Belgium, Renzi stressed that austerity was adversely affecting growth and stability within the EU and that a relaxation of the blocs stringent economic milestone measures is no needed in order to present a fighting chance to the recovering member state economies.

Italy’s Prime Minister is one of the first European leaders to so openly call for a rethink on the economic blocs rules. He commented that the “treaty obliges us to look at growth and stability” he then further stressed that “no stability is possible if there is no growth in Europe and economic policies of recent years have failed because of this”.

This carries weight, not just because of the ongoing EU summit, but also because Italy is next lined up to take over the rotating presidency of the EU. A position that Renzi has stated he will use to influence the application of, but particularly the lack of flexibility in, the binding EU guidelines on member state government deficits.

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