Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 09:38:15 AM EST
The tired old European economy is showing signs of life and the World Cup is expected to have it moving around unassisted in no time:
Growth in retail sales in the euro zone hit its fastest pace in more than two years in May, boosted by strong expansion in Germany, according to a survey of retail purchasing managers published today.
The Bloomberg/NTC euro zone retail PMI rose in May to 56.3 from 54.6 a month earlier, the highest since the survey began in January 2004.
Readings above 50 indicate expansion in the sector while figures below that mark indicate contraction.
The retail PMI for Germany, which accounts for nearly a third of the 12-nation euro area's gross domestic product (GDP), rose to 60.4 to from 59.3 in April.
This was also the highest reading since January 2004, the survey showed. Germany hosts the World Cup between June 9th and July 9th, and economists have forecast the economy will receive a substantial boost from the tournament.
Soccer fans from around the world have begun arriving in Germany, and research firm NTC said the World Cup had helped to boost retail sales in May in Europe's largest economy.
The euro zone poll questioned more than 1,000 retailers in Germany, France and Italy. The three countries account for around 75 percent of the euro zone's retail trade.
In France, the retail PMI climbed in May to 56.9 from 55.2 in April, with the gauge advancing in Italy to 49.3 from 46.8. (Ireland.com)