Swedish Retail Trade Growth Quickens in February
Sweden’s retail trade increased by 4.6 percent from a year earlier in February of 2021, up from an upwardly revised 3.8 percent rise in the previous month. It was the fastest growth in retail sales since November, boosted by information and communication equipment (27.4 percent vs 20.6 percent in January); other household equipment (9.9 percent vs 6.4 percent) and cultural and recreation goods (11.9 percent vs 27.7 percent). In addition, on-line trade continued to rise solidly (37.9 percent vs 42.5 percent). On a monthly basis, retail sales went up 0.7 percent, following an upwardly revised 4.3 percent advance in the previous period.
Italy Consumer Morale Stronger than Expected
The consumer confidence index in Italy decreased to 100.9 in March of 2021 from 101.4 in the previous month, above market expectations of 100.7. Household sentiment deteriorated slightly for all main components: economic sentiment (90.2 from 91.5 in January); personal climate (104.5 from 104.7); current conditions (96.7 from 97.3) and future situation (107.1 from 107.5).
Italy Business Morale Improves to 20-Month High
Italy’s manufacturing confidence index rose to 101.2 in March of 2021 from an upwardly revised 99.5 in the previous month and well above market expectations of 99.4 despite an ongoing coronavirus crisis. It was the highest level of business morale since July of 2019, as firms were more optimistic about both the order book current trend (-14.3 vs -18.5) and the future production developments (4.6 vs 3.8). Furthermore, stocks were considered to remain virtually stable (at 1.6). Meantime, the composite business morale index, combining surveys of the manufacturing, retail, construction and services sectors, went up to 93.9 in March from 93.3 in February, the highest since February 2020