Friday, 27 March 2009

European confidence falls, UK retail sales plunge

US GDP has been revised to show a 6.3 percent annual rate of decline in the fourth quarter of 2008. While a Bloomberg report suggests that the US economy may be at a turning point, data on European economies on Thursday remain negative.

Another Bloomberg report says confidence in Europe is still falling.

Italian business sentiment dropped to the lowest on record and German consumer confidence fell for the first time in seven months, adding to signs the recession is deepening across the continent.

The Italian business-confidence index declined more than economists expected to 59.8 in March, the lowest since the data series started in 1986, the Rome-based Isae Institute said today. In Germany, Europe’s largest economy, GfK AG’s confidence index for April fell to 2.4, a separate report showed. French consumer sentiment held near an all-time low in March, according to data from the government in Paris.

Reuters reports that UK retail sales plunged in February.

Retail sales plunged in February, posting the lowest annual growth rate in more than a decade, as heavy snowy and economic gloom kept consumers away from the shops, official data showed on Thursday...

Sales volumes fell 1.9 percent in February, nearly five times the fall expected by analysts, bringing to an end a run of surprisingly robust figures that had shown sales holding up well over Christmas.

The annual rate of growth fell to 0.4 percent, its weakest since September 1995, the Office for National Statistics said.

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