Yet one more time France seems to be different. Even as retail sales weakened or fell all across the eurozone in January, in France they seem to have been rising. European retail sales fell for a fourth month in January as rising fuel, utility and food prices left shoppers with less money to spend, the Bloomberg purchasing managers index showed. The gauge of sales in the euro region was a seasonally adjusted 48.1, compared with 46 in December. A reading below 50 indicates a decline. The index is based on a survey of more than 1,000 executives compiled for Bloomberg News by NTC Economics Ltd.
The International Monetary Fund yesterday lowered its forecast for economic growth in the 15 euro nations to 1.6 percent from 2.1 percent as the fallout from the U.S. housing recession spreads. The region's economy expanded 2.6 percent last year.
A gauge of Italian sales dropped to 43 from 44.7, the biggest monthly decline since the survey began four years ago.
In Germany, Europe's largest economy, the index showed a decline, registering 44.2 after 44.
And yet in France the index rose to 56.2 from 49.1. What this actually means remains to be seen, nonetheless we will keep watching.