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Brussels, 7 January 2010
December 2009: Economic Sentiment Indicator continues to improve
The Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) rose once again in December to 92.0 (+4.1 points) in the EU and to 91.3 (+2.5) in the euro area. It has improved in both areas for nine consecutive months since its trough in March 2009, though it still remains below its long-term average.
Economic sentiment indicator (s.a.)
EU: December 92.0
Euro area : December 91.3
The majority of Member States reported a general improvement in sentiment. Among the largest Member States, the UK reported a sharp increase (+8.2 points), followed by France (+4.1), while the improvements were less marked in Italy (+2.9), Germany (+1.7) and Spain (+1.2). Sentiment in the Netherlands remained unchanged and decreased slightly in Poland (-0.6).
Sentiment in industry, which increased by 3 points in both the EU and the euro area, remained the main contributor to the overall improvement. While most respondents in this sector reported strong improvements in their order books, they appear to have scaled back their production expectations. The declining level of stocks, especially in the automotive sector, confirmed further destocking.
Services increased by 1 point in the euro area and by 6 points in the EU, the latter owing to a strong increase in UK services sentiment. Confidence among consumers improved by 1 point in both areas, as unemployment fears faded. Mirroring this outlook, employment expectations picked up in industry and services. No major development was noted in retail, which remained unchanged in the EU and increased by 1 point in the euro area. Construction declined by 1 point in the EU and by 2 points in the euro area.
Confidence in financial services – which is not included in the ESI – remained broadly unchanged in the EU and declined by 2 points in the euro area, where managers' assessment of the business situation over the past three months was significantly more negative than in last month's survey.
Industrial confidence indicator (s.a.)
EU: December -16
Euro area: December -16
Service confidence indicator (s.a.)
EU : December -3
Euro area : December -3
Consumer confidence indicator (s.a.)
EU: December -14
Euro area: December -16
Retail trade confidence indicator (s.a.)
EU : December -6
Euro area: December -10
Construction confidence indicator (s.a.)
EU : December -33
Euro area: December -28
Financial services confidence indicator (n.s.a.)
EU : December 17
Euro area: December 13
The next Business and Consumer Survey is due to be published on 28 January 2010.
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