Eurozone consumer confidence on the rise

Eurozone consumer confidence increased more than economists forecast in March, adding to signs that the currency bloc’s recovery is gaining traction.

Eurozone consumer confidence on the rise

An index of household confidence in the eurozone rose to minus 9.3 from minus 12.7 in February, the European Commission in Brussels said in a preliminary report yesterday.

That exceeds the median forecast of minus 12.3 in a Bloomberg News survey of 31 economists.

Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, is trying to sustain the recovery from a debt crisis that almost splintered the eurozone by guaranteeing that monetary policy will stay accommodative.

He said this month that “a stock of slack” in the economy is prompting the central bank to maintain its stance even after data show improvement.

European car sales rose 7.6% in February, the sixth consecutive monthly gain, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association said this week.

Still, the increase was helped by price cuts that boosted demand for new models from Renault and Volkswagen and government incentives in Spain.

While the eurozone economy is forecast to post full-year growth in 2014 for the first time in three years, the recovery remains at risk amid near-record unemployment and subdued price pressures.

Inflation unexpectedly slowed in February to an annual 0.7% from 0.8% in January, compared with the ECB’s goal of keeping price growth just below 2% over the medium term.

- Bloomberg

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