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Economy in Brief

Business Confidence Improves in Germany and the Netherlands but Dutch Consumer Confidence Weakens
by Louise Curley January 27, 2004

Confidence measures in Europe continue to be mixed. Contrary to the weakening of confidence in Germany heralded by the January ZEW index, the broader IFO measure showed a 0.52% rise in business confidence in January in West Germany and a 0.67% rise in East Germany.

Producers' confidence in the Netherlands where the balance of opinion has been negative since early 2001, also showed improvement as the balance rose from -2.1 in December to -1.4 in January.

The Netherlands consumer survey, however, reported that consumer confidence, which has been more subdued than that of the producers, weakened in January to -32 from -28 in December. Consumers also were more pessimistic regarding the economic climate and were less willing to make purchases in January than they were in December.

Measures of Confidence Jan 04 Dec 03 Jan 03 M/M 
%
Y/Y 
%
2003 2002 2001
Germany IFO (1991=100)                
   West Germany 97.4 96.9 87.3 0.52 11.57 90.6 89.1 89.9
   East Germany 105.4 104.7 97.5 0.67 8.10 102.6 98.7 101.4
Netherlands (% Balance)                
  Producers' confidence -1.4 -2.1 -4.1 0.7 2.7 -5.6 -1.6 -1.1
  Consumer Survey                
   Consumer confidence -32 -28 -36 -5 4 -35 -20 -1
   Economic climate -47 -43 -64 -4 27 -56 -39 -25
   Willingness to buy -22 -19 -18 -3 -4 -21 -8 15
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