Eurozone consumer confidence has improved sharply in November, shrugging off any aftermath from the UK’s decision to vote to leave the European Union to beat forecasts.
The indicator improved by 1.9 points to -6.1, according to the European Commission. This is well above the long-term average below -12, and above forecasts which had predicted confidence to be 0.7 points lower.
The rise in confidence was greater in the currency bloc than in the European Union as a whole, which includes the UK. EU confidence improved by 0.7 points to reach -5.8.
Eurozone consumer confidence has gradually improved over the last three months after falling significantly between May and June this year.
It has been above -10 for all of January, hitting a 2016 low of -9.7.
During the depths of the global financial crisis at the start of 2009 it fell almost as far as -35, an all-time low. It has recovered gradually since then, although it took another big hit in 2013, reaching below -25 as the Eurozone crisis took hold.
The data will provide encouragement for the European Central Bank (ECB) to keep interest rates low. Yesterday ECB president Mario Draghi stridently defended its ultra-low interest rates policy, claiming that they had formed a major part of the recovery in Eurozone growth.
Eurozone annual growth has stayed steady at 1.6 per cent over the last two quarters, although inflation has been gradually rising to reach 0.5 per cent in October. This is still significantly lower than the ECB's target rate of close to two per cent.