(Finance) – An announced figure, which reflects the reality of the current economic situation, which is being weighed down by the erosion of purchasing power due to the lack of drop in prices. The signal that comes from consumer associations is not an alarm but contains a warning to the government to intervene with measures to calm price lists. This, in summary, the comment of the consumer associations to Istat estimates on consumer confidence which, for the month of May 2023, show a reduction in consumer confidence from 105.5 to 105.1.
“The reduction in consumer and business confidence seen in May is not serious at all, but – he points out the Research Office of Confcommercio – directly reflects the uncertainties characterizing the economic scenario, starting with inflation, the absorption of which could be slower than expected. The same worsening of sentiment among tourism companies should be interpreted as a physiological realignment on values that are in any case high, after the break in April. Overall, at present, it would therefore be premature to read the stop in confidence as the beginning of a retreat phase of economic activity which, in any case, appears to be experiencing a moderate slowdown as can be seen from the recent dynamics of industrial production and of retail sales”.
“The month of May marks a setback for the confidence of households and businesses: today’s data on the climate of consumer and business confidence recorded by Istat signals, in fact, two parallel declines, indicating that both expectations and real situation are, unfortunately, still uncertain – says theEconomic office of Confesercenti –. On the consumption side, in particular, the situation is still critical, with a slower return of inflation than expected and which will, in any case, remain well above 2% for three years: with these trends, the purchasing power of households will continue to be eroded and the level of spending will still remain below pre-crisis levels. In this context, therefore, the priority remains to safeguard the purchasing power of families. In particular, the tax reform must aim to neutralize the effects of the fiscal drag related to the acceleration of inflation, which risks canceling out the positive effects of the reform itself on the purchasing power of families”.
“We have been calling for caution on data relating to consumer confidence for some time: after the initial enthusiasm given by the first drops in the cost of energy, once we see that the costs of goods and services have not decreased at all but have remained unchanged, at levels very high, optimism – he underlines Federconsumatori – has vanished and, unfortunately, a climate of general despondency has arisen. A predictable trend, in a certain sense announced, to which only the Government and companies can respond with price reduction operations and sanctions for those who do not make the necessary adjustments. In this regard, the price alert commission of which Federconsumatori is a part was held yesterday, together with Adoc and Assoutenti representing the Consumer Associations recognized by the CNCU: on this occasion a discussion took place, in which the companies made excuses and the most varied reasons to justify the succession of increases in our opinion unacceptable.
We believe the time has come to put an end to this situation, which is why Federconsumatori has proposed the creation of Territorial Observatories at the Prefectures, with the participation of recognized Consumer Associations. These will carry out series and detailed monitoring actions on the prices of a basket of goods, with a specific application, which will have to lead, in the presence of improprieties or unclear phenomena, to a timely sanctioning intervention by Mr. Prices and the competent Authorities. In fact, price increases for families continue to have unsustainable repercussions: according to estimates by the National Observatory of Federconsumatori, with current inflation, they amount to 2,443.60 euros per year per family. Increases that do not have the same impact for everyone: they weigh much more on less well-off families. The latter, but not only that, are still forced to implement renunciations and sacrifices: according to the surveys of the ONF – Federconsumatori National Observatory, citizens continue to reduce their consumption of meat and fish (-16.9%, with a shift also towards the consumption of cheaper and less valuable cuts and qualities); to search ever more assiduously for offers, discounts, purchases of products close to expiry (habit adopted by 49% of citizens); to make purchases at discount stores (+11.9%). This dynamic increases inequalities, injustices and difficulties in our country: for this reason it becomes increasingly urgent that the Government face this emergency with measures capable of helping and supporting families in a structural and lasting way, especially those with less expense. Funds can be found to implement these interventions by strengthening the fight against speculative phenomena, tax evasion and avoidance, as well as by ordering an increase in the taxation of extra profits (not only in the energy field) and financial income”.
“Reality effect! After the illusory rise in April, due to the long weekends and the first period of the Italians’ spring holidays, we return to the real world and to the unsolved problems of the Italians – he says Massimiliano Dona, president of the National Consumer Union -. In fact, not only are judgments and expectations on Italy’s economic situation worsening, but also those on the family. In particular, expectations on the economic condition of the family plummet from -11.3 to -14.8, a good 3.5 percentage points. In short, the Government continues to sail on sight, without any breakthrough in its economic policy, which is too weak to affect the difficult situation of families”.
“After the positive recovery of recent months, linked above all to the drop in electricity and gas bills and the repercussions on the inflation rate, the confidence index is once again decreasing – explains the president of Codacons Carlo Rienzi –. It is evident that the growth in retail prices recorded in the last period, and constantly increasing price lists for the goods most purchased by households, from food to shopping carts, have influenced the climate of confidence and consumer expectations. The drop in confidence is a worrying sign because it reflects on citizens’ propensity to spend, and we reiterate once again the need for government intervention through specific measures aimed at calming retail price lists, especially for primary goods that households they can’t help it.”