Eurozone consumer confidence ends the year in the doldrums

 
Julian Harris
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CONSUMER confidence in the Eurozone improved slightly in the final month of 2012, a prominent survey suggested yesterday, but remains considerably below its long run average.

And a think tank focusing on European politics predicted a tough year ahead.

“Next year is not only likely to see domestic politics across the EU clash with the economic realities of the eurozone crisis and EU integration, but also countries increasingly being pitted against one another,” predicted Open Europe’s head of economic research, Raoul Ruparel.

“Despite talk of a recovery, growth is set to stall and unemployment rise across the continent.”

Yet with the immediate crisis fading, 2013 could see Europe’s leaders resorting back to a routine of kicking the can down the road, Ruparel added.

Data released by the European Commission yesterday showed that consumer morale edged up to an index reading of minus 26.6 this month, from a 42 month low of minus 26.9 in November.

“December’s reading kept the index substantially below its long-term average of minus 13,” noted Howard Archer, chief economist at IHS Global Insight.