Russia, Greece seen dragging down Christmas spend in Europe
PARIS: Families across Europe look set to spend slightly less on average this Christmas, with austerity-hit Greece and Russia showing the steepest declines, a survey showed yesterday.
French, British, German and Spanish consumers are among those expected to spend more, it said. The overall decline will also be at a much slower pace than last year, signalling some improvement in sentiment. The survey by market research group Deloitte showed that the average Christmas budget across Europe would ease 0.28 percent this year to about 513 euros ($549.63) per family.
This would be a limited decline when compared with a 3 percent fall last year, as consumers’ perceptions about the European economy were generally improving.
This year’s decline in Europe was led by Greece, where spending will drop 8.63 percent to an average 402 euros, Russia where families will spend 6.96 percent less to 217 euros, and Portugal where spending will fall 5.55 percent to 315 euros.
All three countries have seen their economies battered in recent years. Greece is in its third international bailout, Russia has been hit by sanctions over its dealings with Ukraine, and Portugal is beset by weak growth and austerity.
Christmas spending will also decline in Italy - down 3.08 percent - but is set to rise 0.2 percent in economically recovering Spain, Deloitte said. Among Europe’s biggest Christmas shoppers, families will spend 884 euros on average in Britain, up 0.68 percent from last year, 617 euros in Denmark, up 5.21 percent, 577 euros in France, up 0.23 percent, and 423 euros, up 0.87 percent in Germany, the poll showed. — Reuters
France rebounds As questions arose over the health of the German economy, neighboring France posted a return to growth in the third quarter with an expansion of 0.3 percent after having earlier stalled.
Finance Minister Michel Sapin said the latest figures meant France had “exited the period of extremely weak growth that had lasted too long”. Of the big euro-zone countries, Spain grew the fastest with a 0.8 percent rate in the third quarter, though this