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Economy in Brief

 Confidence in the Euro Zone and the Broader EU-25
by Louise Curley February 28, 2005

Although they are declining, pessimists among consumers and businessmen in the 25 country European Union continue to outweigh the optimists. The excess of pessimists among consumers held steady in February at 10% while the excess of pessimists among industrial businessmen rose 1 percentage point to 5%.

The picture for "The 25" is slightly better than that of the 12 countries comprising the Euro Zone, suggesting that the non Euro Zone countries--largely Eastern European countries, plus the U.K, Sweden and Denmark--are less pessimistic than those in the Euro Zone. The first chart shows consumer confidence in the Euro 12 and the Euro 25.

The data are not aggregated for the non Euro Zone countries, but the fact that pessimism among "The 25" is less than than of "The 12" suggests that pessimism among the non Euro countries is considerably less. Data released today by France and Slovakia show that consumer confidence in Slovakia, for example, has become decidedly less pessimistic beginning in early 2004--perhaps coinciding with the enlargement of the EU-- and is now less pessimistic than France. In the U.K., another non Euro Zone country, the balance of pessimists over optimists has over recent years been much smaller that the balance for the Euro Zone. Currently the pessimists and optimists in the U. K. are evenly balanced.

  Feb 05 Jan 05 Feb 04 M/M Dif Y/Y Dif  2004    2003   2002   
Euro 12                
  Consumer Confidence -13 -13 -15 0 2 -14 -18 -11
  Industrial Confidence -7 -5 -7 -2 0 -5 -10 -11
Euro 25                
  Consumer Confidence -10 -10 -12 0 2 -12 -16 -9
  Industrial Confidence -5 -4 -6 -1 1 -4 -11 -12
                 
France: HH Confidence -23 -25 -23 2 0 -22 -27 -16
Slovakia: Consumer Confidence -15.3 -14.2 -35.9 -1.1 20.6 -23.9 -34.8 -30.2
U.K.: Consumer Confidence 0 0 -5 0 5 -3 -6 -4
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