European Incomes and Household Spending Up in 2019

Euro sculptures stand in front of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany. (Michael Probst/Associated Press)

(CN) – For much of the year, experts have been warning a global economic slowdown is on the way – with some even using the R-word. Europeans don’t seem worried about recession, with household income and consumption both up in the first quarter of 2019.

The European Union’s statistics office Eurostat reported Friday that per capital household real income – the adjusted gross disposable income divided by the total population – rose 0.6% in the 19-state eurozone and 0.3% across the full EU. The first quarter rise in income follows a similar increase at the end of 2018.

According to Eurostat’s figures, Europeans spent the extra income: household consumption rose 0.4% in the 19 states that use the euro as currency, though it remained stable across the full EU.

The eurozone has seen income and consumption grow in every quarter since the beginning of 2013. The full EU has seen mostly growth in both categories, with a few bumps along the way.

Whether the growth will carry over into the second quarter remains to be seen. Economic growth in the United States slowed dramatically from April to June, the Commerce Department reported Friday, and a surge in consumer spending was offset by a growing trade deficit and slower inventory restocking.

And President Donald Trump tore into the French government via Twitter on Friday, blasting France’s 3% tax on the revenues of U.S. tech giants. He specifically called out French President Emmanuel Macron and one of France’s proudest exports.

“We will announce a substantial reciprocal action on Macron’s foolishness shortly. I’ve always said American wine is better than French wine!” Trump – who reportedly does not drink alcohol – tweeted.

In the face of global trade tensions, the European Central Bank echoed the sentiments of the U.S. Federal Reserve this week that a slash to key interest benchmarks is on the horizon in order to prop up what many economists say is a flagging world economy.

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