Europe’s consumer confidence smashed to a 92-month high in March, riding on the back of an increasingly clear upswing for the eurozone’s economy that most people (myself included) did not see coming.
The consumer confidence figure smashed analyst consensus, climbing to -3.7, up from -6.7 in February. Economists had expected a score of -6. It’s still in negative territory, but it’s now at its highest levels since 2007.
Here’s how it looks:
Here’s Claus Vistesen at Pantheon Macroeconomics (who also provided the chart above):
Households in the euro area remain in an upbeat mood due to low energy prices, record low interest rates and rallying stock markets. The level of sentiment is now almost as high as it was during the peak in 2007 pointing to solid support to GDP growth from private spending in Q1 and Q2. Surging consumer confidence is usually a late-cycle phenomenon, but it is difficult to expect a fall just because sentiment has reached historical highs. Given the likely staying power of very loose monetary policy and low energy prices, sentiment could very well remain high or even rise further in coming months.
It’s increasingly getting difficult to believe that the eurozone, which looked at risk of a triple-dip recession just a few months ago, is getting into a cyclical recovery. With quantitative easing just beginning, it looks like it could be the most significant upswing in the last seven years for Europe.
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