STORY: Europeans are keeping a close eye on their spending.
Figures out Tuesday (June 6) showed retail sales volumes down 2.6% on the year in April.
Consumers cut spending on food and car fuel.
But they increased outlays on some other items, especially online.
That left the overall number unchanged on the month before.
Consumption has been weak all year as real incomes fall.
Households have been spending more of their money on expensive energy bills and debt repayments.
That as inflation and interest rates rise.
But other data out Tuesday offered some hope.
A survey from the European Central Bank showed consumers now expect inflation to decline to just over 4% during the coming year.
People also expect wages to grow more slowly.
That’s all a relief for policymakers at the bank, indicating that price price pressures could be easing.
The ECB has done almost four percentage points of rate hikes over the past year in a bid to tame runaway prices.
But Tuesday’s figures will encourage those arguing for a cautious approach to further increases.