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January 2012: Economic sentiment increases in both the EU and the euro area

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In January, the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) rose by 1.2 points in the EU and by 0.6 points in the euro area, to 92.8 and 93.4, respectively - the first pick-up in sentiment since March 2011.

The improvement was mainly driven by increasing confidence in the services sector and - to a lesser extent - among consumers and in the construction sector. Among the largest euro-area Member States, sentiment improved in Germany (+2.3) and Spain (+1.8), while it deteriorated in France (-2.1), Italy (-1.1) and the Netherlands (-1.0). As to large Member States in the rest of the EU, sentiment increased in both the UK (+5.0) and Poland (+2.7). The ESI is above its long-term average only in Germany.

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