Euro-Zone December retail sales were unchanged over the month and fell 1.6% y/y . Our median was -0.4% m/m, so data were slightly better than expected, but with November data revised down sharply - to -0.1%m/m and -2.6% y/y, from an initially reported 0.6% m/m and -1.5% y/y. Sales were down 0.9% q/q in Q4, after stagnating in the third quarter and numbers confirm that overall GDP contracted once again sharply in the last quarter of the year. Looking ahead there are some signs that retail confidence has benefited from lower energy prices at the start of the year and early reports suggest a slight rebound in car sales at least in some countries. However, with unemployment expected to rise sharply in coming months consumption is unlikely to boost overall growth this year.
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