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Jump in European sentiment builds

ECONOMIC sentiment in the eurozone strengthened much more than expected in January and December while German unemployment rose less than forecast this month, data showed, pointing to continued economic recovery.

A monthly survey by the European Commission (EC) showed the economic sentiment indicator for the 16-country area rose to 95.7 points -- well above the 92.4 forecast by economists in a Reuters poll -- from 94.1 in December. The December figure was revised from a previous reading of 91.3, and the number for January was the highest since June 2008.

“Did anyone say (the recovery was) running out of steam?” said Carsten Brzeski at ING. “The EC’s economic sentiment indicator for the eurozone just confirmed the ongoing recovery.”