The Bottom Falls Out Of The European Consumer

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.