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Confidence improving in eurozone

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Confidence among businesses and consumers in the eurozone appears to be picking up, a new study has revealed.

The latest Economic Sentiment Indicator from the European Commission (EC) showed a score of 87 in the euro area during December - an improvement of 1.3 points when compared with the previous month.

This was fuelled partly by an increase in industry confidence, with many managers predicting an increase in production output in the near future.

Similarly, consumers living in the eurozone are becoming more and more positive about their immediate financial outlook and their ability to save over the next few months.

The EC's Economic Sentiment Indicator also identified a slight improvement over the European Union (EU) has a whole.

However, only a 0.3 point increase was recorded in December, as the trends identified in the eurozone were not repeated across the board.

For instance, the report showed that while the EU also saw an increase in industry confidence last month, consumer confidence changed very little.

Similarly, a 2.3 point decline in services confidence was reported in the EU, whereas it went up by 2.1 points in the euro area.

The EC blamed this largely on a poor performance in the UK, as it "offset the marked increase" registered last month.

Economic sentiment in Britain declined by 3.5 points during December - the worst rating for any of the seven largest EU member states.

Indeed, confidence levels in Italy improved by two points last month, while a one point upturn was recorded in Germany.

Similarly, France experienced a 0.4 point surge in economic sentiment throughout December, while Spain and the Netherlands saw improvements of 0.3 and 0.2 points respectively. Figures also showed that Poland enjoyed a 0.2 point improvement in confidence during this time.

This comes shortly after Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, told journalists that the future of the single European currency is no longer in question and that the "existential threat" against the euro has now been overcome.

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