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Economy in Brief

 European Consumer And Business Confidence Indicators Released Today
by Louise Curley May 27, 2008

Confidence measures were released today for Italy, France, Sweden and the Netherlands. Most showed a continued loss of confidence both by consumers and business. Consumer confidence in the Netherlands and in Sweden are shown in the first chart. In France, business confidence fell 3.8% from its index value of 106 in April to 102 in May, as shown in the second chart. (France's measure of business confidence is a synthetic index, designed to average 100 with a standard deviation of 10).

Italy, however, surprised with slight reversals in the down trends in both consumer and business confidence in May as can be seen in the third chart. While consumer confidence in the Netherlands continued to fall, business confidence in the Netherlands improved. The excess of business optimists over pessimists rose from 3.0% to 3.7%. In spite of the improvements in consumer and business confidence in Italy and in business confidence in the Netherlands in May, all the indicators are well below the levels of a year ago.

CONFIDENCE MEASURES  May 08 Apr 08  May  07  M/M Chg  Y/Y Chg  2007 2006 2005
CONSUMER CONFIDENCE  
Netherlands (% balance)  -17 -12 13 -5 -30 8 -1 -22
Sweden (% balance)  -1.1 0.8 19.7 -1.9 -20.8 17.4 17.1 10.5
Italy (2000=100) 86.4 83.7 91.6 3.3% -5.7% 90.8 81.0 87.3
BUSINESS CONFIDENCE 
France
(Average=100, SD=10)
102 106 108 -3.8% -5.5% 109 106 100
Italy (2000=100) 89.6 87.6 95.8 2.3% -6.5% 94.3 95.8 87.5
Netherlands(% balance) 3.7 3.0 8.8 0.7 -5.1 7.8 6.8 0.6
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