An indicator of economic confidence in the 19-nation euro region climbed to the highest level in almost six years in December, the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, said on Friday.
The commission’s economic sentiment index rose to 107.8 in December from 106.6 in November. This was the highest reading since March 2011. The improvement was driven by increased optimism among retailers and industrial firms and also among consumers.
Confidence improved to the largest degree in France, the Netherlands and Germany, while it fell in Spain. Italy’s reading remained stable. The increase in retail trade confidence to 3.2 from 1.5 was fuelled by a more optimistic assessment of the present business situation the volume of stock.
Confidence among industrial firms rose to a 0.8 reading, the highest since June 2011, from minus-0.5 amid a significant increase in managers’ production expectations, better assessment of overall order bookings and the stock of finished products. Managers’ views on export order bookings also improved.