Giovedì, 18 Ottobre 2018

Alarm sounded over Italian consumer spending


(ANSA) - Rome, October 4 - Two separate reports painted an
alarming picture about consumer spending in recession-hit Italy
on Thursday.
National statistics agency Istat released figures that
showed Italians' spending power had taken a hit following a
0.8% fall in real income last year.
Istat explained that consumer prices climbed 2.9% in 2011
compared to the previous year, but the disposable income of
Italian families only went up by 1.9%.
The agency added that the propensity of Italians to save
fell from 9.7% in 2010 to 8.8% in 2011.
Retailers' association Confcommercio, meanwhile, said
consumer spending fell 2.7% in quantitative terms and 0.7% in
value terms in Italy in August compared to the same month in
"The data shows that families were trying not to spend over
a certain threshold, especially in the summer months, after a
period of the year in which their disposable incomes registered
a major drop, which translated into a net fall in demand," the
association said in a report.
Confcommercio said there was no evidence to suggest the
trend of falling consumer spending with respect to last year
will be reversed soon.
It said spending on transport goods and services was hit
hardest, plummeting 12.4% in August with respect to the same
month in 2011.
The association added, however, that overall consumer
spending in August was slightly higher than it was in July this
year, registering a 0.2% month-on-month increase.
Last week a study by farmers' association Coldiretti found
that 61% of Italians have consciously sought to slash their
grocery bills during the crisis.
Purchases of milk, oil and fish have declined 7%, 5% and 4%
respectively over last year, while spending on fruit, pasta and
beef has dropped 1%.
Big retail hypermarkets and supermarkets suffered
respective sales falls of 3.1% and 1.1% and even discount food
stores saw their sales fall 0.1%.
The spending drop at discount stores is seen as
particularly alarming as it may mean the poor are having to make
sacrifices regarding the quality of their nourishment.
The government has said it expects Italy to pull out of the
recession next year.
But the president of the Italian industrial employers'
confederation Confindustria said this week that the country will
probably have to wait until 2015 for real economic recovery.
"We are not going to see a real upturn next year, except
for improvements towards the end," said Giorgio Squinzi. "I'd go
with a real recovery in 2015".

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