Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Doom and gloom on the morning radio phone in.

It was all doom and gloom on the radio this morning - the Italian stock market fell 6% yesterday and figures released last night indicated that new car sales were down 25% in February despite government incentives for buyers. Then there are worries that ENEL, the big electricity company, won't be able to raise the funds to make an acquisition in Spain - a huge loss of face for an Italian management. Worst of all pasta prices rose 16% in February for a total of 24% in the first two months of the year due to a continuing shortage of wheat. American and British audiences have been used to this litany of doom and gloom for at least the last six months - but here 'the crisis' as it is known is only now entering the popular mindset. To begin with the downturn was an Anglo-Saxon problem ( ie stupid Americans and Brits spending more than they earned ), then it was a problem that would impact Germany with its expensive BMW's and Mercedes but not Italy with its fuel efficient FIAT's, now it's beginning to dawn that exports are in free fall and foreign tourists thin on the ground.

On the morning walk we realised that it is nearly three years since we bought the house in Italy. March 31st 2006 to be precise. I'll write about our house hunting experiences another time but suffice it to say the old phrase 'caveat emptor; should apply to most dealings with Italian realtors. Boyz seem happy although they were out digging for moles at first light which meant a wash and thorough sweeping of the mud they dragged into the hallway.

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