Economic sentiment in EU, euro zone best since 2011 – official
The Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) in the euro zone in December 2013 was at its best level since July 2011, with economic sentiment in the wider European Union already having returned to its long-term average in September 2013, the European Commission said on January 9.
In December, the ESI increased by 1.6 points in the euro zone (to 100.0) and 1.4 points in the EU (to 103.5).
Sentiment in the euro area is thus back to its long-term average for the first time since July 2011, the European Commission said.
In the wider EU, the improvement in sentiment was only slightly less pronounced than in the euro area (+1.4).
On a sector basis, developments in the EU deviated from the euro area in so far as industry confidence remained unchanged and the surge in sentiment was considerably higher in retail trade, while lower in construction.
On a country basis, the main reason for the slightly weaker improvement in sentiment was a virtually unchanged confidence level in the largest non-euro area EU economy, the UK (-0.1). The EU financial services confidence indicator improved at a slower pace than in the euro area (+0.5).
Employment plans in the EU were broadly in line with the euro area, except for services where plans were revised upwards and construction where they remained virtually unchanged. Selling price expectations developed in line with the euro area.
In December 2013, the Business Climate Indicator (BCI) for the euro area remained broadly unchanged at +0.27. The level of overall order books and the stocks of finished products were assessed more positively. The appraisal of past production and production expectations, on the other hand, deteriorated, while there was no change in the assessment of the level of export order books, the European Commission said.
(Photo: Vangelis Thomaidis)