In June, European Commission’s economic confidence dropped for a fourth consecutive session. The headline index fell from 105.5 to 105.1, broadly in line with expectations as the consensus was looking for a decline to 105. The details show that weakness was based in industrial confidence (3.2 from 3.8), while consumer (-9.8 from -9.9), services (9.9 from 9.3) and construction (-23.6 from -24.7) sentiment improved in June. Retail confidence stayed unchanged at -2.4. National details show that sentiment weakened in core countries as Germany, France and Belgium but also in debt-stricken Greece and Portugal. In Italy and Spain, on the contrary, economic sentiment improved in June. Also the business climate indicator weakened less than expected, falling from a revised 0.98 to 0.92. Inflation expectations indices eased further both among consumers and industries. While confidence weakened further, the details were not too bad as sentiment deteriorated only in the manufacturing sector and even improved in the services sector, providing an encouraging sign that the slowdown in growth might just be temporary after a strong first quarter.
In Belgium, CPI inflation rose by 0.31% M/M in June to an annual level of 3.67% Y/Y up from 3.35% Y/Y in May and the highest level since October 2008. The details show that upward price pressures were led by gas, fruit, package holidays, electricity, non-alcoholic beverages and hotels, while prices for fuels and vegetables fell in June. Core CPI, excluding energy, jumped from 1.70% Y/Y to 1.88% Y/Y. Yesterday, the German inflation data surprised on the downside, stabilising at 2.4% Y/Y, while the consensus was looking for an increase to 2.5% Y/Y. Belgian inflation is relatively high (when energy rises) and therefore it might be wrong to draw strong conclusions for the euro area reading today.