Consumer confidence in Italy approaches a three-year high

Julian Harris
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ITALIAN consumer confidence jumped to a near three-year high this month, official data revealed yesterday, providing a boost to new Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Morale on the high street has been sharply improving in many western countries in recent weeks, with strong US surveys sending stocks higher across the pond.

And yesterday Italy’s stats office, Istat, said that its consumer confidence index rose across the board in March, up to a reading of 101.7, from 97.7, while the balance of unemployment expectations fell.

A separate release from yesterday showed Italian retail sales flat in January, yet the confidence surveys suggest that sales could have picked up since then.

Meanwhile, Germany’s GfK measure of consumer confidence held steady at a seven-year high, the research company said.

“The consumer mood in Germany was once again buoyant in March,” said Rolf Buerkl from GfK, although the firm warned that its survey was conducted before Russia’s annexation of Crimea, which may have knocked morale.