EUROPEAN RETAIL SALES ARE GROWING AT THE FASTEST PACE IN 8 YEARS

The eurozone just recorded its strongest retail sales growth in almost eight years, up 2.8% in December.

Sales had grown by 0.6% in November from October, when shopping for Christmas typically gets underway. Analysts expected a 0.2% increase to January, which would have self sales up 2% year on year.

Turnover’s still below record levels, but the trend is very obviously upwards.

That follows the strong business surveys out early Wednesday, which show the strongest services growth in six months. Italy, Germany, and Spain all surpassed expectations.

That’s the latest in a string of good news for Europe this month. Private firms are finally starting to lend again, according to official surveys and the European Central Bank embarked on a massive quantative easing programme to prop up the economy.

Inflation figures are still way off, with deflation now recorded for two months, but many other economic indicators are now looking pretty good for Europe — or at least, they’re going in the right direction.

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