• Steve H. Hanke
    05/04/2016 - 08:00
    Authored by Steve H. Hanke of The Johns Hopkins University. Follow him on Twitter @Steve_Hanke. A few weeks ago, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) sprang a surprise. It announced that a...

Italian Families' Spent 11% Less On Christmas Gifts In 2013

Tyler Durden's picture


According to pundits, 2012 was the worst year for the Eurozone's peripheral economies, only worse than the just as tumultuous 2011, while 2013 was - if only listens to Europe's propaganda masters - a year of recovery thanks to the ECB's "whatever it takes" mentality. Which fails to explain why families in recession-battered Italy spent 11.4% less on gifts this Christmas than last year and one in five households did without presents completely, according to the consumers' group Federconsumatori estimated on Thursday.

From ANSA:

The group said the Italian households spent an average of 131 euros each on gifts for a total of 3.35 billion euros. Another consumers' association, Codacons, said overall Christmas spending, including expenditure on food and drink as well as gifts, was down 8% this year with respect to 2012. According to Codacons' data, spending on gifts was 15% down on last year.

There was some good news:

... expenditure on food was holding up, with Italians set to spend 2.6 billion euros on their Christmas and New Year's meals.

Which makes sense: as we showed the past weekend, while retail spending in the US is also about to post its first annual decline since 2008, and no matter how hard they try, the spinmasters continue to fail explaining away how an "economic recovery" can lead to an ongoing contraction in consumption, one thing that is surging is US spending on booze.

Perhaps it is time for the Ministry of Truth to change a few aphorisms around, starting with "drowning your sorrows" to "drinking oneself under the table from all the joy a fabricated 4.1% GDP print brings."

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Thu, 12/26/2013 - 10:00 | 4276558 PrecipiceWatching
PrecipiceWatching's picture

I don't understand Italy's problems.

I was just in Italy this Fall; the entire beautiful country is a richly varied historical treasure and museum, and most apropos economically, was FULL of free spending tourists.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 10:06 | 4276563 Hippocratic Oaf
Hippocratic Oaf's picture

The Italian families that I know on this side of the pond have cut back a hell of a lot more than 11%

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 10:08 | 4276569 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



Some Canadian website developers I know are doing pretty damn good this year.


I asked them what they did last year.....they said.....not much.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 10:13 | 4276576 Bobbyrib
Bobbyrib's picture

"I asked them what they did last year.....they said.....not much."

They didn't mention giving campaign contributions to the President? I'm not from DC or Chicago so I don't know how this whole thing works. They won't tell me in NY or NJ.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 14:44 | 4277202 stocktivity
stocktivity's picture

Italians are tougher and smarter

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 14:48 | 4277207 stocktivity
stocktivity's picture

Italians are tougher, smarter, and weigh less than average.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 10:14 | 4276581 wolfnipplechips
wolfnipplechips's picture

12.5% unemployment, -6.9% GDP, sovereign debt 130% of GDP...Italy is already bankrupt going back to 2011 but being propped up with ECB policies/ LTRO, etc. Italy is hosed! Your perception that the "free spending" tourists is exactly what TPTB want you to have...the facade is working at least.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 10:25 | 4276589 PrecipiceWatching
PrecipiceWatching's picture


Those must be some awfully powerful and manipulative PTB, because I am reporting what I saw with my own eyes, and what came out of my own pocket. 

I am fully aware of the dire economic metrics for Italy, and much of Europe.  I was just commenting that FOR WHATEVER REASON, they don't correlate with the economic vitality I witnessed and experienced firsthand.  Our trip this time,  did not even encompass the prime tourist areas.


I suspect, like the US, it is WAY too much government.  Too many talentless, lazy bureaucrats with full, well paid staffs, sitting around doing nothing except sucking the life out of the economy.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 10:32 | 4276597 blabam
blabam's picture

Tourists at tourist locations... Lots of tourists in NY... America should be BOOMING!

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 10:42 | 4276613 PrecipiceWatching
PrecipiceWatching's picture

I guess you missed the statement where I indicated we were NOT at the prime tourist destinations of Italia.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 11:00 | 4276643 blabam
blabam's picture

Still tourist destinations. 

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 12:12 | 4276800 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Italy has always been full of tourists, that's not their problem.

It's everything else that's the problem.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 11:25 | 4276705 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Italy's problems got worse when they joined the Euro and right after that the EU-SSR allowed more imports from China.  They made Italian industry uncompetitive with the expensive Euro.    All Europeans are working like slaves for the EU-SSR in Brussels.  The same thing is true with the US Senate and our foreign aid.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 10:59 | 4276636 Veto
Veto's picture

Tourists may still spend, but off-season, the Italians don't. A friend reported that the wine bar Antica Enoteca on Via della Croce was virtually empty when she visited Rome in November. Ten years ago, as far as I remember, you would rarely get a table to sit there in the afternoon, on any day or time of the year.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 18:08 | 4277772 Rafferty
Rafferty's picture

All true, and in terms of industriousness, productivity and innovation the far North can hold its own with literally anywahere.  But the economy of the rest of the country is in serious decline and is overrun with millions of Africans and Arabs.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 10:02 | 4276561 wolfnipplechips
wolfnipplechips's picture

Bah humbug, bitchez! Sounds like something we In the US should consider instead of continually overspending and having credit card Christmas seasons we cannot afford.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 10:05 | 4276564 Hedgetard55
Hedgetard55's picture

Thank goodness I am in the right business.


I heard from a customer who was in Milan lately that Italy is in very bad shape, worse than we hear in the US, and that he was told there were places in Milan itself that were unsafe to go to.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 18:09 | 4277779 Rafferty
Rafferty's picture

Unsafe areas in Milan - there are some - are populated by Africans, Arabs or Roma. Be 100% sure of that.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 10:09 | 4276568 youngman
youngman's picture

But I bet they still had a great wine and a beautiful fresh pasta....they eat and drink well there

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 10:34 | 4276605 FLHRS
FLHRS's picture

When some dominos start falling in Europe, that will be the trigger for all you gold bugs out there.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 10:51 | 4276623 Ban KKiller
Ban KKiller's picture

Liquor sales up? Weed too. Time for SilverCoin Tequila and bong hits...just supporting the economy.


Thu, 12/26/2013 - 10:52 | 4276626 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Newsflash: Some Italian families spent 11% MORE than last year. The < 1%.

Since Italians also like gold very much (mostly as jewelry), they get to buy more at current PM prices and stock market gains.

It pays to allocate and balance one's assets, and keep perspective. But then, they too are an old culture, with lots of 'tribal' (collective) knowledge to draw on... especially for the <1%.

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 11:11 | 4276675 NoWayJose
NoWayJose's picture

You always wonder with Mediterranean countries if the 'cut back' in spending was really 11% or if the amount 'reported' to the tax collectors dropped 11%...  As Italian taxes increase, so does their bartering economy...

Thu, 12/26/2013 - 13:08 | 4276922 SmittyinLA
SmittyinLA's picture

Mass Muslim immigration drives down Christmas sales, wine sales and wages and the brain trust wonders why?


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