(see related story on real income) Rome, April 9 - The spending power of households in recession-hit Italy fell 4.8% in 2012 with respect to the previous year, Istat said on Tuesday. Factors include government tax hikes eating into disposal income and price rises outstripping increases in salaries to cause real incomes to fall. The national statistic agency said the fall in spending power was even higher in the last quarter of 2012, when it was down 5.4% on the same period in 2011. It added that consumer spending was 1.6% lower in 2012 than in 2011 and that Italians' propensity to save money had fallen to its lowest level since records on this began in 1990. It said 8.2% of Italian households' earnings were saved in 2012, down 0.5% on 2011.
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di Giovanni Pastore