In Europe, economic sentiment picks up

May 30, 2013 at 8:49 AM
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BRUSSELS, May 30 (UPI) -- The European Commission said its monthly economic sentiment indicators rose in May, returning to an upward trend that was derailed in March and April.

The European Commission's news agency Europa said Thursday that economic sentiment index rose 0.8 points to 894 in the eurozone, the 17 countries that share the euro as currency, and by 1.1 points to 90.8 in the 27-member European Union.

"In the eurozone, the recovery was driven by brightening sentiment in all business sectors except for construction and, to a lesser extent, by more optimistic consumers," the news agency said.

Economic sentiment improved in Italy, the Netherlands, France and Germany, which amounts to a gain in four of the five largest eurozone economies. In Spain, the last of the five largest, sentiment was "virtually unchanged at 0.1," Europa said.

The sentiment index includes confidence indexes in industrial firms, which rose 0.8 points, service-oriented businesses, which added 1.8 points, retail trade, which gained 1.6 points, construction, which dropped 2 points and consumer confidence, which added 0.4 points.

The survey also measures confidence in the financial sector, which fell "sharply," Europa said, dropping 3.6 points.

The finance index, however, is not used to calculate the diffuse economic sentiment index.

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