Eurozone suffering as business confidence fades away again

Tim Wallace
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BUSINESS order books and output fell again in March, official Eurozone figures showed yesterday, as the economy struggles to launch any meaningful recovery.

It came as French data increased fears the country is heading into a triple-dip recession, with GDP declining 0.3 per cent in the final three months of 2012.

The European Commission’s business climate indicator slumped another 0.14 points to minus 0.86, stamping out hopes of an easing of the private sector’s economic woes.

And its economic sentiment indicator fell from 91.1 to 90.

“The fall provides a further sign that the Eurozone economy had started to lose momentum even before the recent escalation of the crisis in Cyprus,” said Capital Economics’ Ben May.

“The latest data suggest that the Eurozone remained in recession in the first quarter and supports our view that an economic recovery may be a long way off.”

The figures were weak across the Eurozone, dipping in France, Germany and Spain and staying at relatively low levels in Italy, Portugal and Greece.

By sector, sentiment dipped among industrial firms from minus 11.3 to minus 12.5. Services confidence fell from minus 5.3 to minus 6.7 while retail sentiment fell from minus 16.1 to minus 17.6.