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September 30, 2009

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Home » Business » Economy

Rising confidence slows in European countries

A MONTHLY survey of EU and eurozone business and consumer confidence has found that in September it rose at the smallest pace since April, the European Commission said yesterday.

The European Commission said its economic sentiment indicator climbed to 82.8 in the 16-country eurozone from 80.8 in August. In the 27-country EU, it rose to 82.6 from 81 in August.

The EU executive warned that the green shoots of a recovery are not pushing through evenly across Europe - and that both businesses and workers in the EU and eurozone have "leveled off" expectations that employment will rebound.

Companies and shoppers in Spain and Italy said they were less confident about the economy than they were a month ago. In Britain and Poland, they reported no major change. This dampens a moderate increase in confidence in Germany, Europe's largest economy, and a stronger surge in optimism in France and the Netherlands.

Consumer confidence improved markedly in both areas, it said, while industry, retailers and builders were also more upbeat than a month ago. Financial services confidence also "bounced back strongly," it said.

A separate survey of eurozone industry managers also climbed but is still "very low," the EU said, "suggesting that year-on-year growth in industrial production was still strongly negative in August."

The business climate indicator rose from minus 2.18 in August to minus 2.07 in September as managers were slightly more optimistic on production expectations.

Signs are mounting that the worst of the downturn is over: The euro countries likely exited recession in the third quarter, the EU executive said.


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