Among the many interesting bits of data in today’s release of the Central Bank’s monthly statistics are the February 2009 data for credit card spending. I haven’t paid too much attention to these before, but they seem like a useful early indicator of retail sales, and they may include cross-border purchases.
Not surprisingly, the February figures are very weak — indeed it seems that January and February 2009 are about the same as the same months in 2006. And these are in nominal euros — not inflation adjusted.
I thought readers might like to see this seven year chart which I have drawn. Of course February is generally the lowest month of the year (though it wasn’t in 2008), but the drop is very striking.
Update: OK, so I’d better deflate this by the CPI as below (Average in 2002=100). I leave it to someone else to seasonally adjust.