Despite recent data suggesting that the 17-member euro area is finally turning the corner on a deep recession, retail sales in the bloc have tumbled. Household spending remained low in the face of uncertainties.
Eurozone retail sales fell almost across the board in June, the European statistics office, Eurostat, reported Monday. It added the decline came after three previous months of gains.
The volume of retail trade dipped by 0.5 percent on the month in the euro area, following a 1.1-percent increase in May.
Germanyand France provided the biggest extremes in a nation-by-nation comparison, with Europe's biggest economy logging an alarming 1.5 percent monthly drop and Paris being the only bright spot, registering a 0.6-percent increase.
ECB watching closely
Euro area retail sales even dropped by 0.9 percent, if compared with the volume reached in the same month a year earlier.
Shoppers were reported to have spent more on automotive fuel in June. However, it was not enough to offset a big drop in spending on food, drinks and tobacco as well as a decline in money shelled out for non-food items such as electronics and clothing.
Weak consumer spending remains a concern for the European Central Bank (ECB). Its main financing rate has been at a record 0.5 percent. The bank confirmed at its policy meeting last week it would keep the interest rate low for an extended period to help gain momentum.
hg/hc (AFP, Reuters)