Euro firms see growth returning

 
Tim Wallace
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OPTIMISTIC firms and consumers yesterday added to hopes that the Eurozone economy can at last return to sustainable growth in the coming months.

But the bounceback has not yet taken hold – weak data was released from Germany, France and Italy yesterday, showing even the core countries are still struggling.

Unemployment increased unexpectedly in Germany, rising 24,000 in May when economists had expected another fall in joblessness.

New data showed consumer spending fell in France in April, dropping 0.3 per cent on the month when analysts had forecast an improvement.

And Italian manufacturers reported falling orders and a drop in output in May.

However, consumers and businesses reported economic conditions are improving in a European Commission study.

Its sentiment index hit a 34-month high in May, bouncing back from a fall in April.

Economist Howard Archer from IHS Global Insight expects GDP growth to continue to pick up in the region.

“May’s rise in overall business and consumer sentiment to a 34-month high boosts hopes that modest Eurozone economic recovery is still developing despite disappointing GDP growth of 0.2 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter,” he said.