European Economics

Consumer spending dampened by temporary factors

European Chart Book
Written by Capital Economics Economist

The first breakdown of euro-zone Q4 GDP showed that consumer spending growth slowed to just 0.2%, the weakest rate since Q1 2014. Encouragingly though, this appears to have been due to temporary factors. Indeed, unseasonably-warm weather throughout much of the region appears to have weighed on both energy consumption and clothing sales. Warm weather appears to have dampened spending again in January. But spending on energy and clothing probably picked up in February. After all, it was unseasonably cold in Europe last month. And more generally, the high level of consumer confidence suggests that annual household spending growth will accelerate.