As Bloomberg reports today, a key measure of economic confidence unexpectedly declined last month in Italy:
The household sentiment dropped to 114.3 from a revised 116.0 in October, statistics agency Istat said Monday in Rome. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 12 analysts called for a November reading of 116.5.
“It’s bad news ahead of Christmas,” said Massimiliano Dona, head of the National Consumer Association. “The worsening views of the household budgets and of the intentions for durable-good purchases don’t lead us to be optimistic with regard to the shopping season.”
The data is surprising given the fact that Italy’s economy has risen for 13 straight quarters following the country’s longest recession in several decades. Despite the steady rebound, analysts still see Italy posting the weakest economic growth rate in the EU through 2019.
The iShares MSCI Italy Index ETF (EWI) was unchanged in premarket trading Monday. Year-to-date, EWI has gained 30.98%, versus a 17.55% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.