Euro zone economic mood rises to 13-month high in June

BRUSSELS Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:22pm IST

An illustration picture shows Euro coins, photographed in Warngau April 3, 2013. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

An illustration picture shows Euro coins, photographed in Warngau April 3, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Michael Dalder

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone economic confidence improved by more than expected in June, rising to its highest level in a little over a year, a sign that Europe could be emerging from nearly three years of slump brought about by its debt and economic crisis.

The bloc of 17 countries using the euro is in its longest recession since records began in 1995. Prospects for a quick rebound are limited by still rising unemployment, the impact of deep budget cuts and the absence of business lending.

But in a sign that consumer spending could help spur growth, the European Commission's economic morale index rose to 91.3 points in June - its highest since May 2012 - from 89.5 points in May, against market expectations of an improvement to 90.3.

Separately, the euro zone's Business Climate Index - which points to the phase of the business cycle - rose to -0.68 points from -0.75 in May. Both indices have been improving since April.

Economists were encouraged but wary.

"We are still cautious not to get carried away by the positive survey data flow out of the euro zone this month," said Evelyn Herrmann, European economist at BNP Paribas.

Confidence improved across all areas except services, with all five of the euro zone's largest economies - Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and notably Spain showing an upturn.

Spain, which has been in recession for one-and-a-half years and many economists forecast the recession to continue to the end of the year, saw sentiment improving in June by 2.5 points to 92.3, the highest level since February 2012.

The rise in industry confidence came from more orders and higher production expectations, while consumer morale rose for the seventh consecutive month, the Commission said.

"Overall Euro zone economic sentiment is still at a relatively low level compared to long-term norms, which suggests that businesses will remain cautious in their employment and investment plans in the near term at least," said Howard Archer, European economist at IHS Global Insight.

The European Central Bank (ECB) kept interest rates on hold at record lows this month with several policymakers hinting at the possibility of further cuts if necessary to help recovery.

ECB President Mario Draghi said on Tuesday rates would stay low for quite some time as price stability was assured and the overall economic outlook and record high unemployment still warranted an accommodative stance.

(Reporting by Martin Santa; editing by Luke Baker)

"India's Daughter"

Reuters Showcase

Microfinance

Microfinance

Funding the unfunded: India helps small business borrow to grow  Full Article 

Insurance Sector

Insurance Sector

UK healthcare firm Bupa sees strong growth in India  Full Article 

Sensex Rises

Sensex Rises

Sensex edges up; consumer and healthcare stocks rise  Full Article 

Market Eye

Market Eye

FTSE adds nine Indian firms as large-caps in Asia-Pacific ex-Japan index   Full Article 

Indian Ocean Diplomacy

Indian Ocean Diplomacy

PM Modi to ramp up help for Indian Ocean nations to counter China influence  Full Article 

ECB Bond-Buying

ECB Bond-Buying

ECB raises growth forecasts, to start printing money next week  Full Article 

China Economy

China Economy

China signals "new normal" with lower annual growth target  Full Article 

Pharma Sector

Pharma Sector

Panel recommends waiving late-stage trials for some drugs  Full Article 

E-commerce

E-commerce

China backs e-commerce expansion in win for Alibaba, JD.com  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage