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European Commission - Press release

November 2011: Economic Sentiment resumes decline

Brussels, 29 November 2011 - In November, the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) declined by 1.0 point in the EU and by 1.1 points in the euro area, dipping to 92.8 and 93.7, respectively. The decline resulted from a broad-based deterioration in sentiment across the sectors. Confidence remained broadly unchanged only in the construction sector.

Among the largest Member States, France (-3.7) reported the biggest decrease in sentiment, followed by the Netherlands (-1.8) and - to a lesser extent - the UK (-0.6). Sentiment was broadly unchanged in Germany (-0.1) and Spain (+0.2), while it improved in Italy (+0.8) and Poland (+0.9). The ESI remains above its long-term average only in Germany.

Economic sentiment indicator (s.a.)

Confidence in industry weakened by 1.0 point in the EU and by 0.8 points in the euro area, moving below its long-term average in both regions. The deterioration was broad-based: managers were more pessimistic about their companies' past production and their export order books. They also expressed growing concerns about production expectations, particularly in the euro area where an increasing number of managers also assessed their stocks as being too large. Employment expectations deteriorated in industry in both the EU and the euro area, while managers' selling price expectations increased in both regions.

Sentiment in services decreased in both the EU (-2.3) and the euro area (-1.8), mainly due to gloomier assessment of past business situation and past demand. Sentiment in the retail trade sector dropped in both the EU (-1.4) and the euro area (-1.3), owing to managers' negative assessments of the present business situation and business expectations. Sentiment in construction remained broadly unchanged in the EU (0.0) and the euro area (+0.3).

Confidence among consumers deteriorated by 0.5 points in both the EU and the euro area, mainly on the back of increasing unemployment fears. EU consumers also expressed growing concerns about the general economic situation. Consumers' expected financial situation and savings' prospects remained broadly unchanged. However, the overall consumers' readings mask different developments across the countries.

Confidence in financial services – not included in the ESI – improved in both the EU (+4.0) and in the euro area (+4.9), because of managers' improved assessment of recent developments in business situation and demand. On the contrary, managers were more pessimistic about expected demand for their companies' services.

According to the industrial investment survey, carried out in October/November 2011, euro-area managers expect to decrease their investment volumes by 2% in 2012 compared with 2011. In the EU, no change in investment plans is foreseen.

Industrial confidence indicator (s.a.)

Service confidence indicator (s.a.)

Consumer confidence indicator (s.a.)

Retail trade confidence indicator (s.a.)

Construction confidence indicator (s.a.)

Financial services confidence indicator (n.s.a.)

EU: November -4.7

Euro area: November -10.9

The next Business and Consumer Survey is due to be published on 6 January 2012.

Full tables are available on:

Contacts :

Amadeu Altafaj Tardio (+32 2 295 26 58)

Catherine Bunyan (+32 2 299 65 12)

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