Debt-ravaged Eurozone suffers poor month on the high street

Ben Southwood
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RETAILING in the Eurozone’s second and third biggest economies slipped to even sharper decline in October, business survey data showed yesterday, though resilient Germany dragged the bloc's average up significantly.

The retail purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the Eurozone as a whole collapsed from 47.1 in September to 45.3 this month, Markit said yesterday, where values below 50 indicate decline in the sector. This overall fall was driven by plummeting figures for France and Italy, the two biggest economies in the Eurozone after Germany. France’s retail PMI fell from 47.9 to 46, the data revealed, while Italy’s plummeted from 42.9 to 37.3.

“The Eurozone retail sector entered the fourth quarter in a deepening slump,” said Trevor Balchin at Markit. “Sales have now fallen for 12 consecutive months, and there is little sign of an imminent return to growth.”

This came as Eurostat data revealed the Eurozone savings rate fell in the second quarter, hitting 12.9 per cent from 13.1 per cent in the first three months of the year.

Business investment data from the same period, also from Eurostat, gave a less gloomy impression, as it increased from 20.2 per cent to hit 20.3 per cent. However, this was still below the level seen throughout 2011.