In line with the most recent PMI’s, also European Commission’s Economic confidence weakened slightly in March. Economic confidence fell from an upwardly revised 107.9 to 107.3, slightly below the consensus (of 107.5). The breakdown shows a weakening in services (10.8 from 11.2), retail (-1.5 from -0.2) and construction (-25 from -24.2) confidence, while business confidence stabilized at 6.6 in March. Consumer confidence was confirmed at -10.6, also slightly down from the February reading.
National data show a mixed picture, with a further deterioration in sentiment in Greece, Spain and Portugal, while also German economic confidence weakened slightly. In France, the Netherlands and Italy however, sentiment improved somewhat in March. As already indicated by the PMI’s, the events in the MENA region and Japan and ECB signalling higher rates weakened sentiment recently, but confidence remains exceptionally strong in core EMU counties.