Eurozone confidence up, Greek sentiment plunges
Confidence in the eurozone’s economy edged up to a new four-year high in August as rising domestic demand marginally outweighed a worsening view of export prospects and the mood brightened particularly in France and Spain. The European Commission’s monthly economic
posted gross profits of 6.5 million euros in the first half of 2015, compared to 1.6 million during the same period last year, according to financial results published yesterday. The group’s net results after taxes and minority interests amounted to losses of 13.1 million euros against 21.2 million in the first half of 2014. sentiment indicator, published yesterday, rose to 104.2 in August, from 104.0 in July. “The tentative increase in euro-area sentiment resulted from worsened confidence in industry being offset by improvements in the other business sectors (construction, services and, particularly, retail trade) and marginally higher consumer confidence,” the Commission said in a statement. Among the larger euro-area economies, overall economic sentiment increased in France (+0.9) and Spain (+1.7), but declined in Germany (-0.2), Italy (-0.6) and in the Netherlands (-0.3). Sentiment in Greece, which secured a third bailout this month, plunged to its lowest level in more than six years. The index fell by 6.1 points in August to 74.8. The market jitters have raised speculation over whether the European Central Bank might need to step up its monetary stimulus to safeguard its inflation goal. ECB Executive Board member Peter Praet said this week that there should be no doubt that policymakers would react if needed, including by expanding or extending quantitative easing (QE). Still, he said officials also need to distance themselves from the market volatility and judge the consequences for the euro area.