Eurozone Slides Into Recession as Inflation Hurts Consumption
Kanebridge News
    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,599,192 (-0.51%)       Melbourne $986,501 (-0.24%)       Brisbane $938,846 (+0.04%)       Adelaide $864,470 (+0.79%)       Perth $822,991 (-0.13%)       Hobart $755,620 (-0.26%)       Darwin $665,693 (-0.13%)       Canberra $994,740 (+0.67%)       National $1,027,820 (-0.13%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $746,448 (+0.19%)       Melbourne $495,247 (+0.53%)       Brisbane $534,081 (+1.16%)       Adelaide $409,697 (-2.19%)       Perth $437,258 (+0.97%)       Hobart $531,961 (+0.68%)       Darwin $367,399 (0%)       Canberra $499,766 (0%)       National $525,746 (+0.31%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,586 (+169)       Melbourne 15,093 (+456)       Brisbane 7,795 (+246)       Adelaide 2,488 (+77)       Perth 6,274 (+65)       Hobart 1,315 (+13)       Darwin 255 (+4)       Canberra 1,037 (+17)       National 44,843 (+1,047)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,675 (+47)       Melbourne 7,961 (+171)       Brisbane 1,636 (+24)       Adelaide 462 (+20)       Perth 1,749 (+2)       Hobart 206 (+4)       Darwin 384 (+2)       Canberra 914 (+19)       National 21,987 (+289)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $770 (-$10)       Melbourne $590 (-$5)       Brisbane $620 ($0)       Adelaide $595 (-$5)       Perth $650 ($0)       Hobart $550 ($0)       Darwin $700 ($0)       Canberra $700 ($0)       National $654 (-$3)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $730 (+$10)       Melbourne $580 ($0)       Brisbane $620 ($0)       Adelaide $470 ($0)       Perth $600 ($0)       Hobart $460 (-$10)       Darwin $550 ($0)       Canberra $560 (-$5)       National $583 (+$1)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 5,253 (-65)       Melbourne 5,429 (+1)       Brisbane 3,933 (-4)       Adelaide 1,178 (+17)       Perth 1,685 ($0)       Hobart 393 (+25)       Darwin 144 (+6)       Canberra 575 (-22)       National 18,590 (-42)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 6,894 (-176)       Melbourne 4,572 (-79)       Brisbane 1,991 (+1)       Adelaide 377 (+6)       Perth 590 (+3)       Hobart 152 (+6)       Darwin 266 (+10)       Canberra 525 (+8)       National 15,367 (-221)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 2.50% (↓)       Melbourne 3.11% (↓)       Brisbane 3.43% (↓)       Adelaide 3.58% (↓)     Perth 4.11% (↑)      Hobart 3.78% (↑)      Darwin 5.47% (↑)        Canberra 3.66% (↓)       National 3.31% (↓)            UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 5.09% (↑)        Melbourne 6.09% (↓)       Brisbane 6.04% (↓)     Adelaide 5.97% (↑)        Perth 7.14% (↓)       Hobart 4.50% (↓)       Darwin 7.78% (↓)       Canberra 5.83% (↓)       National 5.76% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.7% (↑)      Melbourne 0.8% (↑)      Brisbane 0.4% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 1.2% (↑)      Hobart 0.6% (↑)      Darwin 1.1% (↑)      Canberra 0.7% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.4% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.3% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 1.5% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.3% (↑)        National 0.9% (↓)            AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 28.7 (↓)       Melbourne 30.7 (↓)       Brisbane 31.0 (↓)       Adelaide 25.4 (↓)       Perth 34.0 (↓)       Hobart 34.8 (↓)       Darwin 35.1 (↓)       Canberra 28.5 (↓)       National 31.0 (↓)            AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 25.8 (↓)       Melbourne 30.2 (↓)       Brisbane 27.6 (↓)       Adelaide 21.8 (↓)       Perth 37.8 (↓)       Hobart 25.2 (↓)       Darwin 24.8 (↓)       Canberra 41.1 (↓)       National 29.3 (↓)           
Share Button

Eurozone Slides Into Recession as Inflation Hurts Consumption

Weaknesses in Germany and Ireland more than offset growth in other economies at the start of the year

By PAUL HANNON
Fri, Jun 9, 2023 8:29amGrey Clock 4 min

The eurozone has slipped into recession as Germany, its largest economy, wobbled, suggesting that the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine may have been deeper than expected earlier this year.

While the U.S. economy has so far brushed aside higher borrowing rates and continues to grow thanks to robust consumption, employment and an extended market rally, Europe is lagging ever further behind, stuck in the economic equivalent of long Covid. While the U.S. economy is now 5.4% larger than it was before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, the eurozone economy is just 2.2% bigger.

Inflation driven by a spike in energy costs and stubbornly high food prices has softened in Europe recently but remains much higher than policy makers would like and is affecting consumption negatively.

The weakness in Germany is a particular concern. In past decades, the country’s economy often managed to recover rapidly from economic shocks thanks to the strength of its highly competitive exporters.

But global trade has suffered under the Covid-19 pandemic and mounting geopolitical tensions, and it may not offer the same degree of support this time. Factory output in the country showed a steep drop in March. And the continuing war in Ukraine, a close neighbour, is another major source of uncertainty for the region.

Because of its size, the German economy on its own can drag the eurozone up or down. The eurozone’s slide into recession at the start of the year came in spite of growth in France, Italy and Spain, its other large economies.

Economists think all this points to a slow and protracted recovery for the continent later this year, where consumers and businesses are also feeling the drag from higher borrowing costs as the European Central Bank continues to raise interest rates to fight inflation. The eurozone’s slide into recession wasn’t so dramatic as to trigger a pause in the ECB’s rate-raising campaign, according to most analysts.

The European Union’s statistics agency said Thursday the combined gross domestic product of the countries that share the euro fell at an annualised 0.4% during the three months through March, having also declined in the final three months of last year.

Eurostat had previously estimated that the currency area’s economy grew slightly in the first quarter, but the sizeable change to the data from Germany and weakness in Ireland and Finland pushed it into contraction. This left the region with two consecutive quarters of shrinking output, matching the official definition of an economic recession.

Economists expect growth to resume in the three months through June as falling energy bills ease the pressure on household budgets, but any rebound is likely to be anaemic. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Wednesday said it expected the eurozone’s economy to grow 0.9% this year, roughly half as much as the U.S. economy.

The main difference between the eurozone and the U.S. is consumer spending. Americans are spending freely on the activities they skipped during pandemic lockdowns, such as travel, concerts and dining out. Unlike Europeans, they haven’t had to cut their spending on goods to be able to do so. In Europe, household spending fell in both the final quarter of last year, and the first quarter of 2023. Imports also fell sharply in both quarters, a sign that weakness in the eurozone is affecting businesses in other parts of the world.

One reason for the growing trans-Atlantic economic gap is the amount of savings Americans accumulated during the pandemic. Oxford Economics estimates that while excess savings in the U.S. stood at around 8.3% of annual economic output at the end of 2022, in the eurozone the equivalent was just over 5%. Americans have also been more willing to draw on those savings, with surveys showing Europeans are conscious of the uncertainties flowing from the war in Ukraine.

Back in Europe, while energy prices have normalised from their 2022 peaks, food prices have continued to rise at a rapid pace, weakening household spending on other goods and services. U.S. food prices have been rising half as quickly as their European equivalents so far this year.

The European Central Bank’s series of rate increases, which started in July last year, have now worked their way through the currency area’s financial system. The drag on growth from that source is likely to build during coming months, with the ECB signalling that it intends to raise its key interest rate for an eighth straight meeting next week.

“A peak in underlying inflation wouldn’t be sufficient to declare victory: We need to see convincing evidence that inflation returns to our 2% target in a sustained and timely manner,” ECB policy maker Isabel Schnabel said Wednesday. “We aren’t at that point yet.”

The OECD said it expects eurozone inflation to fall to 5.8% this year from 8.4% in 2022, but remain well above the ECB’s target at 3.2% in 2024.

One reason for the eurozone’s slide into recession is that Ireland—long the currency area’s fastest-growing economy—experienced a 44.7% decline in factory output during March, likely driven by U.S. pharmaceutical companies that operate in the country. That led to a 17.3% annualized fall in the country’s GDP during the first quarter.

Ireland’s statistics office hasn’t offered a reason for that drop in production, but figures it released Wednesday showed a rebound of 70.7% in April, suggesting the first-quarter contraction is unlikely to be sustained.

The eurozone’s poor economic performance so far this year partly reflects the costs of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last year. The Russian economy contracted 2% last year and the OECD expects it to shrink a further 1.5% this year and 0.4% in 2024. Ukraine’s economy shrank by a third in 2022, and is likely to have suffered further damage following the destruction of a dam and hydroelectric plant in the country’s south this week.

In the U.S., unlike in Europe, a weakening of the jobs market is required before the National Bureau of Economic Research, an academic group, declares a recession. That has yet to happen in the eurozone, with employment increasing 0.6% during the first quarter.



MOST POPULAR

Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Related Stories
Money
Why Prices of the World’s Most Expensive Handbags Keep Rising
By CAROL RYAN 05/03/2024
Money
The Lessons I’ve Learned From My Friends’ Expensive Divorces
By JULIA CARPENTER 05/03/2024
Money
I Cancelled My Unused Subscriptions. The Money I Saved Paid for a Tesla.
By CHRIS KORNELIS 04/03/2024
Why Prices of the World’s Most Expensive Handbags Keep Rising

Designers are charging more for their most recognisable bags to maintain the appearance of exclusivity as the industry balloons

By CAROL RYAN
Tue, Mar 5, 2024 3 min

The price of a basic Hermès Birkin handbag has jumped $1,000. This first-world problem for fashionistas is a sign that luxury brands are playing harder to get with their most sought-after products.

Hermès recently raised the cost of a basic Birkin 25-centimeter handbag in its U.S. stores by 10% to $11,400 before sales tax, according to data from luxury handbag forum PurseBop. Rarer Birkins made with exotic skins such as crocodile have jumped more than 20%. The Paris brand says it only increases prices to offset higher manufacturing costs, but this year’s increase is its largest in at least a decade.

The brand may feel under pressure to defend its reputation as the maker of the world’s most expensive handbags. The “Birkin premium”—the price difference between the Hermès bag and its closest competitor , the Chanel Classic Flap in medium—shrank from 70% in 2019 to 2% last year, according to PurseBop founder Monika Arora. Privately owned Chanel has jacked up the price of its most popular handbag by 75% since before the pandemic.

Eye-watering price increases on luxury brands’ benchmark products are a wider trend. Prada ’s Galleria bag will set shoppers back a cool $4,600—85% more than in 2019, according to the Wayback Machine internet archive. Christian Dior ’s Lady Dior bag and the Louis Vuitton Neverfull are both 45% more expensive, PurseBop data show.

With the U.S. consumer-price index up a fifth since 2019, luxury brands do need to offset higher wage and materials costs. But the inflation-beating increases are also a way to manage the challenge presented by their own success: how to maintain an aura of exclusivity at the same time as strong sales.

Luxury brands have grown enormously in recent years, helped by the Covid-19 lockdowns, when consumers had fewer outlets for spending. LVMH ’s fashion and leather goods division alone has almost doubled in size since 2019, with €42.2 billion in sales last year, equivalent to $45.8 billion at current exchange rates. Gucci, Chanel and Hermès all make more than $10 billion in sales a year. One way to avoid overexposure is to sell fewer items at much higher prices.

Many aspirational shoppers can no longer afford the handbags, but luxury brands can’t risk alienating them altogether. This may explain why labels such as Hermès and Prada have launched makeup lines and Gucci’s owner Kering is pushing deeper into eyewear. These cheaper categories can be a kind of consolation prize. They can also be sold in the tens of millions without saturating the market.

“Cosmetics are invisible—unless you catch someone applying lipstick and see the logo, you can’t tell the brand,” says Luca Solca, luxury analyst at Bernstein.

Most of the luxury industry’s growth in 2024 will come from price increases. Sales are expected to rise by 7% this year, according to Bernstein estimates, even as brands only sell 1% to 2% more stuff.

Limiting volume growth this way only works if a brand is so popular that shoppers won’t balk at climbing prices and defect to another label. Some companies may have pushed prices beyond what consumers think they are worth. Sales of Prada’s handbags rose a meagre 1% in its last quarter and the group’s cheaper sister label Miu Miu is growing faster.

Ramping up prices can invite unflattering comparisons. At more than $2,000, Burberry ’s small Lola bag is around 40% more expensive today than it was a few years ago. Luxury shoppers may decide that tried and tested styles such as Louis Vuitton’s Neverfull bag, which is now a little cheaper than the Burberry bag, are a better buy—especially as Louis Vuitton bags hold their value better in the resale market.

Aggressive price increases can also drive shoppers to secondhand websites. If a barely used Prada Galleria bag in excellent condition can be picked up for $1,500 on luxury resale website The Real Real, it is less appealing to pay three times that amount for the bag brand new.

The strategy won’t help everyone, but for the best luxury brands, stretching the price spectrum can keep the risks of growth in check.

MOST POPULAR

Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Related Stories
Lifestyle
Global Emissions From Electricity Set to Fall Even as Power Demand Climbs, IEA Predicts
By GIULIA PETRONI 29/01/2024
Money
Accounting For The Cost Of Going To Work
By Chelsea Spresser 07/11/2023
Lifestyle
Sales down over Christmas in a subdued end to the year
By KANEBRIDGE NEWS 31/01/2024
0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop