Spain and Italy receive economic recovery boost

  • 29 December 2015
  • From the section Business
Shoppers in Madrid Image copyright Dennis Doyle
Image caption Spain's shops hope the economic recovery will drive strong Christmas business

Spanish shops are now hiring at pre-crisis levels, while business confidence is also holding up in Italy, according to official figures.

Spain's national statistics agency said retail hiring in November grew 1.8% on last year, the fastest rate since Spain entered a deep recession in 2008.

In Italy, figures on Tuesday showed business confidence fell in December, but remained close to recent highs.

Italy and Spain are the eurozone's third and fourth largest economies.

Spanish retail sales increased 3.3% in November compared to last year, the sixteenth consecutive month of growth, according to the National Statistics Institute.

Christmas confidence

Many retailers are confident this will be the best Christmas period for business since the country's recovery started.

Higher household spending in Spain this year, fuelled by falling oil prices and tax cuts, has helped to boost Spanish shops and drive economic growth.

Spain's economy grew 0.8% in the third quarter, while the growth rate in Italy was lower than expected at 0.2%, according to EU figures.

Despite the slowdown, morale among Italian businesses and consumers remains high.

Business confidence fell to 105.8 from 107.1 in November, according to Italian statistic agency ISTAT's composite business morale index, which combines surveys of the manufacturing, retail, construction and services sectors.

Consumer confidence dropped to 117.6 from a record high of 118.4 in November, although it was still above analyst expectations.

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