In another sign that the recession in the European Union has spread well beyond the weakest nations, retail sales fell 1.1% in Germany in May. The Federal Statistics Bureau issued a report that showed:
According to provisional results retail turnover in May 2012 in Germany increased 1.0% in nominal terms and decreased 1.1% in real terms compared with the corresponding month of the previous year. The number of days open for sale was 24 in May 2012 and 26 in May 2011.
The news likely will prompt Angela Merkel and many of the nation’s politicians to pause again and reconsider the substantial billions of euros the country has put into bailout funds for Germany’s neighbors. Pulling back on these commitments may help Germany avoid higher tax rates to support these funds and new levels of austerity within the country. However, stimulus measures for the balance of the region are meant to increase economic activity. This may help increase German exports and calm consumers who believe Germany has been pulled into the areawide recession.
Douglas A. McIntyre