Following a continuous decline since mid-2007, the indicator rebounded somewhat in the EU on the back of a sharp improvement in services confidence in the UK. Meanwhile, it weakened further in the euro area and now stands just below its long-term average.
The increase in the sentiment indicator for the EU is due to significantly higher confidence in the services sector, while confidence in manufacturing, construction and retail trade remained broadly stable. In the euro area, sectoral developments were somewhat different, with confidence decreasing slightly in services and construction. Consumer confidence stayed unchanged in both areas. At the country level, the picture is mixed, with around half of the countries registering a decline in economic sentiment in March, while the other half saw sentiment improve. Among the large Member States, confidence improved considerably in the UK (+10.1) and to a lesser extent in Poland (+1.2) and Germany (+0.3), while remaining stable in France. Confidence weakened further in the Netherlands (‑4.1), Spain (‑3.6) and Italy (‑1.2).
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