Tuesday, 30 June 2009

European confidence improves

Europe's economy is looking better. From Bloomberg:

European confidence in the economic outlook rose more than economists forecast in June, adding to signs that record low interest rates and stimulus measures are helping to pull the region out of a recession.

An index of executive and consumer sentiment in the 16 nations that use the euro increased to 73.3, the highest since November, from a revised 70.2 in May, the European Commission in Brussels said today. Economists had forecast an increase to 71 from an initially reported 69.3 in May, according to the median of 24 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey...

Consumer sentiment in the euro zone rose to minus 25 in June from minus 28 in May, the report showed. A measure of manufacturers’ confidence rose to minus 32 from minus 33, while confidence among retailers declined.

Consumer confidence has also improved in the UK. Reuters reports:

The GfK/NOP consumer confidence index rose to -25 in June from -27 in May -- the highest since April 2008 and in line with analysts' forecasts.

However, UK mortgage lending is weaker than economists had expected. Bloomberg reports:

U.K. home-loan approvals climbed less than economists forecast last month as the credit squeeze led to the smallest increase in net mortgage lending since records began in 1993.

Banks granted 43,414 loans in May, compared with 43,191 in April, the Bank of England said today in London. Economists predicted 46,000, the median of 22 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey shows. Net mortgage lending rose by 324 million pounds ($536 million), about a third of the pace in the previous month.

Residential property held its value for a second month in June after falling for more than a year, Hometrack Ltd. said today. Bank of England policy maker Kate Barker said last week the housing market is still “some way away from normal” and officials have cautioned that the lending squeeze threatens to delay Britain’s economic recovery.

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