The economic mood in the 17-member eurozone and the whole of the European Union shows no sign of improving, a fresh survey from Brussels shows. But the German business community is far more optimistic.
The economic mood across the European Union remains rather bleak, a key EU survey suggested on Wednesday. The European Commission said its closely watched Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) for May of this year was down 2.3 points at 90.6 points in the eurozone and down 2.7 points at 90.5 points in the larger European Union.
"In both areas the decline was driven by falling confidence in all business sectors, especially in industry and retail trade," the EU executive said in a statement. It noted, though, that confidence among European consumers had picked up slightly.
"The moderate uptick reflected improved expectations about the general economic situation and a significant easing of unemployment fears," The Commission maintained.
The May indicator fell in all major EU economies, but business confidence appeared to be worst in Britain, Italy and the Netherlands. By contrast, the index for Germany dipped a mere 1.4 points, with the country being the only large economy where the ESI indicator remained above its long-term average.
A separate survey by the German Chambers of Trade and Commerce saw domestic entrepreneurs gaining in optimism as many expected demand for German goods to rise again in the months ahead.
The survey suggests that recession woes in many eurozone nations will continue to have a negative impact on trading activities in Germany. However, business activities in emerging nations in Asia and Latin America are expected to make up for the slump in Europe. In addition, domestic consumption is forecast to benefit from low unemployment and higher wages in many sectors, which will contribute to an improved business environment.
hg/mll (dpa, Reuters)