Retail sales in the eurozone fell more sharply than expected in June, a fresh sign that the currency area’s economic recovery remains too weak to quickly bring down very high rates of unemployment, or raise inflation to the European Central Bank’s target.
The European Union’s statistics agency said Wednesday retail sales in the 19 countries that use the euro fell 0.6% in June from May, but were up 1.2% from the same month last year. It was the largest month-to-month fall since September 2014. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had estimated sales fell 0.2%, having seen figures from Germany that recorded a large drop.
Eurostat said sales in Germany were down 2.3% from May. That’s a blow to hopes that low unemployment and rising wages in its largest member would boost the recovery in the eurozone as whole, as Germans purchased more goods and services from weaker parts of the currency area.
But the weakness in retail sales wasn’t confined to Germany, and is also a setback to the ECB’s goal of raising the annual rate of inflation to its target of just under 2%.
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