Eurozone consumer confidence hits July 2011 high

Eurozone consumer confidence has risen from -17.4 to -15.6 in August. That's a July 2011 high.

Economists had forecast an improvement to just -16.5.

Christian Schulz, senior economist, Berenberg:

The drop in confidence after the fateful July 2011 decision to impose losses on private holders of Greek bonds has still not fully been recovered.

Confidence continues to vary widely between countries, depending on unemployment and income developments. The crisis countries will continue to rely on export-led growth to emerge from recession. A consumption boom is not on the horizon with confidence still below its long-run average of -12.7 and continuing adjustment pain weighing on consumer budgets.

But sentiment improvements since the ECB spread its safety net last summer have not been exclusive to the strongest Eurozone countries. With the risk of a Eurozone break-up fading, all European consumers worry a bit less about the future and spend a little more, boosting chances that economic growth will strengthen and broaden in the second half of 2013.