There are green shoots in Europe.
Financial markets are doing well both on the equity and debt front. Germany’s engine is revving again. PMI data hit its lowest level in 8 months.
But as always, the biggest risk in Europe is, well, how long will the people tolerate recession? How long can they handle dismal growth.
New data from Eurostat provides a really depressing snapshot of the state of the consumer, at least as of October.
In October 2012 compared with September 2012, the volume of retail trade fell by 1.2% in the euro area (EA17) and by 1.1% in the EU272, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In September, retail trade decreased by 0.6% and 0.2% respectively. In October 2012, compared with October 2011, the retail sales index fell by 3.6% in the euro area and by 2.4% in the EU27.
Click to enlarge the chart. It’s really ugly.