German retail sales have shown an impressive jump of 5.3% year-on-year to January, well ahead of forecasts. The figures recorded for January also showed a marked increase of 2.7%, much higher than last December’s rise of 0.2% month-on-month. The data are the latest to show an improvement in Europe’s largest economy, and with German consumers seemingly happy to spend at present, the news offers encouragement for teh rest of the continent.
Consumer confidence data from Spain are expected to confirm that Spaniards are still positive about the state of the economy. Results from February are expected to show the index contracted from the all-time high of 99.6 in December, to 98.44 for this month.
To say Spaniards are happy with the current situation would be overstating the economic sentiment in the country, but there is unquestionably a sense that things are improving.
It is the rate of change that will most concern voters in the run-up to elections this year, and an expected second consecutive rise in unemployment figuges -also due out today- are likely to reinforce the notion that the change improvement is a slow one.There are expected to be an extra 27,000 added to the unemployment statistics, a figure which will be a blow to the Government, who have optimistically set a target of creating 1 million new jobs between this year and next.
Also scheduled for release today is the February manufacturing PMIs .