Eurozone: Economic Sentiment Goes Through The Roof

The European Commission's economic sentiment indicator soared in April, with the services sector now also in expansion mode. We can now declare the Covid-19 recession over. Inflation expectations also continue to increase.

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Surging sentiment

The European Commission’s economic sentiment indicator surged to 110.3 points in April from 100.9 in March, dwarfing the consensus forecast of 102.2. In two months’ time sentiment has gained 16.9 points, now firmly standing above its long-term average. Amongst the bigger member states, all countries saw higher sentiment figures, with the Netherlands gaining 10.7 points, Spain 9.1, France 8.5, Germany 5.7 and Italy 5.3.

Strength across the board

 

Industrial confidence is now at a record high, while sentiment in the service sector surprised with an 11.7 point jump. Confidence in retail and in construction saw a significant increase, while consumer confidence also improved. It is very encouraging to see that all forward-looking indicators are rising. Production expectations in industry reached their best reading on record, while stocks were considered scarce as never before. Order books and demand expectations are swelling in all sectors. The Employment Expectations Indicator (EEI) exceeded its long-term average for the first time since February 2020 on the back of a hefty increase in April (+9.9).  All surveyed business sectors showed more optimistic employment plans.

Investment and consumption

The quarterly survey showed that the rate of capacity utilization rose to 82.5%, a marked 5.0 percentage points higher than in January and now above both the indicator’s long-term average and pre-pandemic level. This bodes well for a recovery in business investment in the course of this year. With unemployment expectations declining, it comes as no surprise that a growing number of consumers is planning major purchases over the next 12 months. The Covid-19 recession can now be declared officially over.

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Disclaimer: This publication has been prepared by the Economic and Financial Analysis Division of ING Bank N.V. (“ING”) solely for information purposes without regard to any ...

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