- Europe “Fixed” Facade Crumbling As German Retail Sales Implode!
by Tyler Durden, www.zerohedge.com
Remember all those soaring German confidence indices that said ignore the negative GDP print and focus on a future so bright, ze Germans’ve got to wear Zeiss? Appears the confidence may have been a tad massaged upwards because following a spate of weak corporate results out of Europe’s growth dynamo, the German HDE retail association said Christmas sales for November and December were down some 0.7% from the prior year. Specifically German retail sales plunged -1.7% from November on expectations of a modest -0.1% decline, while on a year over year basis December imploded a whopping -4.7% vs expectations of -1.5%. Did the Germans blame the weather of lack of government spending, or maybe say to only focus on the positive aspects of the report (if any)? No. They were not girlie men about it.
Elsewhere in Spain, inflation rose less than expected, as consumer prices rose 2.8% Y/Y – the slowest pace since August and less than the 3.1 percent increase economists predicted. This was somewhat surprising as the country posted a boost in its current account with the November surplus amounted to €1.8 billion compared with €865 million in October and a deficit of €3.9 billion a year earlier, the Bank of Spain said. That narrowed the cumulative shortfall for the first 11 months of 2012 to €13.1 billion from €33.6 billion in 2011. A big reason for this is that central banks and other banks rotated into Spanish bonds on the false assumption that Spain is fixed. Ironically, even the SNB said that it had boosted its AA rated bonds holdings, while trimming their AAA holdings in Q4.
In now traditional news, Greek retail sales in November followed suit and plunged just a tad more than in Germany imploding by some -16.8% in November. Remember: once they hit 0 they can only go up.
But the biggest news certainly was Germany, whose economy continues to deteriorate and is probably what spurred Buba president Jens Weidmann to say that ongoing bailouts could threaten the strongest members.