Retail sales in the 17 countries sharing the euro fell 1 percent in December compared to the same month a year ago, the EU's statistics office Eurostat said on Wednesday. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 1.5 percent increase.
Christmas Shopping Tumbles
Consumers are the weak link in the euro zone's rebound from its worst ever recession, reluctant to spend at a time of near record unemployment and that could prompt shops to lower prices to entice people back to the high street.
"Some expect a move on rates, some expect a move on liquidity and some expect no move at all, including us," said Greg Fuzesi at JP Morgan. "It is a very close call, but we would emphasize that the debate centers on options that would have only a modest impact on the economy."
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