Boost to consumer morale in Germany and Italy but French industry struggling

Ben Southwood
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GERMAN consumers will maintain their good spirits into October, just as Italian consumer sentiment also seemed to be improving, two sets of data showed yesterday.

Consumer confidence was at an index score of 5.9 in Germany, according to a forward looking measure from researchers GfK, the same positive result as last month.

GfK said this meant domestic demand could step in for faltering exports.

“Consumption therefore continues to truly fulfil its role as a reliable supporting pillar for the economy,” it said.

And the Italian climate is improving, according to data from official statistics body Istat.

The overall confidence index edged up from 86.1 to 86.2, driven by reduced worrying over the economic climate and improved personal finances. But the index was still close to the all-time low of 85.4 hit in June – and well below 100, which is based on the average level for 2005.

Other data suggested a more gloomy view of the Eurozone economy. Italian property sales agreements crashed 16.9 per cent on the year in the first quarter of the year, according to Istat.

And Spanish producer price inflation sped up rapidly: prices rose 4.1 per cent in the year to August, official statistical office INE said yesterday, compared to a rise of just 2.6 per cent in the year to July.

Meanwhile French construction, manufacturing, and wholesale trade all slipped in September, according to official statistical body Insee, dragging the headline indicator down from 87 to 86.