Eurozone economic confidence rises in September

Confidence in the Eurozone economy is up overall, with the economic sentiment indicator at 96.9, up from 95.2 and the expectation of 96.0. But the European survey has had a mixed bag of results for September:

Business climate missed the mark coming in at -0.2, following expectations it would be -0.1, which would have been up from August's figure of -0.2.

Consumer confidence was also down at -14.0. It remains the same, therefore, as August's figure but up on expectations of -15.0.

Industrial confidence for September has come in above expectation at -6.7 - it was at -8 in August, expected to go up to -7.

Service sentiment has also risen - -3.3 for September from -5.2 for August. Expectation was -4.8

Jonathan Loynes, chief European economist for Capital Economics, says in light of the results:

The survey echoes the message from the PMI earlier this week that the euro-zone economy probably expanded again in Q3. The rise in the main economic sentiment indicator was the fifth consecutive increase and left the index at its highest level since August 2011. On past form, the average reading of 94.9 in Q3 points to annual GDP growth (to which the index most closely correlates) of about zero. That, in turn, implies a q/q rise of about 0.3%, the same as in Q2 and similar to that implied by the PMI.

Note though that the surveys under-played the strength of the economy in Q2 so may be over-doing it in Q3 – the hard data have given a weaker picture. The breakdown showed rises in all the main sectors in September and the gains were fairly broad-based by country too. The most striking point is probably the continued relative weakness of France (Economic Sentiment Index 93.1, just above Greece) versus Germany (104.1). Overall, another sign that the euro-zone has continued to grow, but far too slowly to address the region’s unemployment and debt problems.