ECB, Japan, N Africa hit euro zone March sentiment
BRUSSELS: Euro zone economic sentiment fell more than expected in March, data showed on Wednesday, and may ease further on the prospect of a European Central Bank rate rise, the disaster in Japan and turmoil in North Africa.
The European Commission's monthly survey showed economic sentiment in the 17 countries using the euro fell to 107.3 points from a revised 107.9 in February with declines in all components except industry.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected an easing to 107.5 points.
"We believe that euphoric business sentiment in the euro area will deteriorate somewhat in the next few months on the back of the imminent turnaround in rate policy, uncertainty triggered by the disaster in Japan and the turmoil in the Arab countries and mixed signals from the global economy," said Christoph Weil, economist at Commerzbank.