Saturday 24 February 2018

Eurozone figures highlight fragile nature of recovery

Pedestrians pass restaurants and shops as they walk along a shopping street in Pescara, Italy
Pedestrians pass restaurants and shops as they walk along a shopping street in Pescara, Italy
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

NEW retail figures for the eurozone published yesterday emphasised just how tentative the recent recovery is.

Retail trade inched up by just 0.1pc in the 17-member bloc in July, compared with the previous month. And compared with the same month last year, it was down 1.3pc.

For those countries with data available, trade rose in 12, fell in eight and remained stable in Spain and Lithuania.

The highest increases were recorded in Latvia and Romania, and, despite the country's economic woes, France.

Figures released last month show the eurozone grew by 0.3pc between April and June, with the bloc pulling out of the recession that had battered it for six consecutive quarters.

STRONG EXPORTS

New data released by Europe's statistics agency Eurostat yesterday shows that consumer spending and strong exports helped contribute to the recovery.

Household spending rose by 0.2pc in both the euro area and across the EU. Exports rose by 1.6pc in the 17-member bloc and 1.7pc across Europe.

But the fragility is evident in the retail sales figures.

Food, drink and tobacco increased by 1pc in the euro area in July, compared with the previous month, but the non-food sector dropped by 0.4pc.

On an annual basis, food, drink and tobacco fell by 0.6pc in the euro area and remained stable across the EU.

Economists now expect economic growth to continue in the third quarter of this year, following positive business surveys in August, but there are few hopes of a rapid recovery.

Irish Independent

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