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Consumer confidence index shoots up

06
Jul '07
Rome based ISAE's (Institute for Studies and Economic Analyses) seasonally adjusted consumer confidence index for Italy, based on a poll of 2000 households, rose above expectations in May, however June saw an unexpected drop in confidence.

Households have been squeezed by this year's tax increases on those earning more than 40,000 euros (USD 54,000/AUD 63,000) and have felt the effect on income and savings. Families have seen their disposable income shrink as rising interest rates make consumer loans and mortgages more costly and continued high petrol prices take their share of disposable incomes.

Looking forward, consumers may be encouraged by government plans to reduce taxes if the crackdown on tax evasion and growing revenue from an expanding economy continues on track. Indications are the government will spend the money on raising minimum pensions for more than 2 million retirees, improving unemployment benefits and helping young people.

ISTAT apparel sales data for February revealed a moderate rise in nominal value, compared to the same month the previous year. This was the fourth consecutive rise, however preliminary reports indicate a negative trend could be emerging.

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