Euro Zone Retail Sales - Economic Data Preview
Euro Zone Retail Sales are expected to add 0.1% in March, suggesting the annual pace of decline moderated to -2.6% from -4.0% in the previous month. Any improvement will likely owe to a slew of fiscal stimulus packages put in place across the region to boost growth amid deepening recession. That said, a downside surprise is not out of the question as unemployment continues to rise, trimming disposable incomes and encouraging precautionary saving. Indeed, German retail sales unexpectedly fell during the same period, driven by similar considerations. Leading indicators continue to point to contraction in retail activity across the region, albeit at a slowing pace: Bloomberg’s Retail PMI, a survey of purchasing executives designed to gauge firms’ bets on future economic growth, remained firmly in contractionary territory both in March and April. The EU Commission’s latest economic forecast for the common market expects unemployment will rise to a staggering 11.5% next year, suggesting any near-term improvements in consumer spending are likely to be short-lived.