Lunedì, 22 Ottobre 2018

Italians' spending power plummets


Rome, January 9 - Istat said Wednesday that the
spending power of households in recession-hit Italy plummeted
last year while the nation's retailers said 2012 is set to go
down as the worst year since World War II for consumer spending.
The national statistics agency said Italians' spending
power fell by a massive 4.1% in the first nine months of 2012
compared to the same period in 2011.
A factor is the tax increases that led to Italian
disposable incomes being 1.9% lower in the third quarter of last
year than in the same three months in 2011, Istat said.
Spending power has also been eroded by drops in real
incomes caused by inflation outstripping salary increases.
Retailers' association Confcommercio said its consumer
spending index continued a downward trend in November, when it
registered a 2.9% drop compared to the same month in 2011 and a
0.1% fall with respect to October.
"It is clear that 2012 is set to be remembered as the most
difficult year for consumer spending in the post-war period,"
Confcommercio said.
"The continuation of negative year-on-year results (in the
index) in the final months of 2012 shows that the crisis is
still very much present in the economic system...
"It is unlikely that our economy in general, and consumer
spending in specific, will start to show signals of significant
improvement in the short term".
Austerity measures outgoing Premier Mario Monti's
government passed to put Italy on course to balance the national
budget in structural terms this year and move the country away
from the centre of the eurozone debt crisis are widely seen as
having deepened a recession that started in 2011.
Wednesday's negative data will not boost Monti's bid to
stay at the helm of government after he opted to run in next
month's general elections on a reform platform backed by several
centrist parties.
On Tuesday Istat said unemployment in Italy remained at a
record high of November at 11.1%, while youth unemployment
reached an unprecedented level of 37.1%.
There was some positive news though.
Istat said Wednesday that Italy's public deficit fell to
3.7% with respect to gross domestic product in the first nine
months of 2012, 0.5% lower than in the same period in 2011,
thanks to government tax hikes.
The national statistics added that the deficit-GDP ratio
fell to 1.8% in the third quarter of 2012, 0.7% lower than in
the same three months in 2011.
Istat said the new and much-criticised IMU property tax,
introduced by Monti's emergency administration of unelected
technocrats, was the driving force of the higher tax revenues
that have brought down the deficit.

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