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Italian consumer spending ends negative trend

Retailers index edges up 0.1% in December

06 February, 11:42
Italian consumer spending ends negative trend (ANSA) - Rome, February 6 - Consumer spending ended a long negative trend generated by Italy's longest postwar recession in December, retailers association Confcommercio said Thursday.

Confcommercio said its consumer-spending index edged up 0.1% in December with respect to November.

Italy appears to be emerging from a long downturn that dampened domestic demand and saw unemployment reach record highs of over 12%.

Gross domestics product was flat in the third quarter of last year after eight consecutive quarters of negative growth and was forecast to return to positive growth in the last three months of 2013.

Confcommercio stressed, however, that despite the month-on-month rise, consumer spending was down 1.3% in December with respect to the same month in 2012 and that there is no certainly that a turning point has been reached. "It is still not clear whether we came to a watershed for household spending at the end of 2013 or, as has happened in the past, a momentary upturn in consumption that does not translate into a recovery because of the lack of an improvement in disposable incomes," Confcommercio said in a statement.