The U.S. economy is sending mixed signals: alongside the strong rise in the dollar and international slowdown in international demand, with adverse effects on foreign sales, improvements in employment and wage increases are being seen, which together with low inflation and a continuing modest level in interest rates, continue to keep consumption up.
In the euro area, the latest figures indicate a phase of more moderate increase in growth, led by a slight increase in consumption, whereas investment dynamics are stagnating owing to the persisting weak cycle in the world trade in goods.
In Italy, the economic cycle in the fourth quarter continues to show mixed signals, while in the presence of a moderately favourable trend: feeble positive notes are coming from manufacturing, but construction business remains weak.
A climate of confidence among consumers is improving, thanks also to the drop in the unemployment rate, whose figures, however, were affected by an increase in the inactive population.
Against this market backdrop, which has a significant direct impact on the sectors of business in which the Group operates, a fall in consumption still continues to be the main risk being faced.