Eurozone Investor Confidence Strengthens; Retail Sales Fall

Eurozone investor confidence improved further in April as the threat posed by the energy crisis proved to be less severe than feared, survey results from the behavioral research institute Sentix showed Thursday.

Elsewhere, official data showed that retail sales in the currency bloc declined in February reflecting the weakness in food and non-food turnover, suggesting little contribution to economic growth from consumer spending in the first quarter.

The investor confidence index rose more-than-expected to -8.7 in April from -11.1 in March. The expected level was -9.9. The indicator improved for the sixth consecutive month.

However, the data is not good, as expectations remained negative, Sentix said. The expectations index was unchanged at -13.0. At the same time, the current situation index rose to -4.3 from -9.3.

The survey conducted among 1,300 investors revealed that the German economy also performed better than many expected in April.

The situation index climbed for the sixth consecutive month to -2.3. Meanwhile, the expectations index remained clearly negative, at -11.5.

Retail sales fell 0.8 percent to offset January’s 0.8 percent increase, Eurostat reported. The pace of decline matched economists’ expectations.

Food, drinks and tobacco sales dropped 0.6 percent and non-food product turnover eased 0.7 percent. Automotive fuel in specialized stores logged a monthly drop of 1.8 percent.

On a yearly basis, retail turnover declined at a faster pace of 3.0 percent, following a 1.8 percent fall in January. Sales were forecast to ease 3.5 percent.

The downward trend in retail sales continued, making a positive contribution to first quarter GDP unlikely, ING economist Bert Colijn said. And these numbers do not support the view that the economy is rebounding vigorously, the economist added.

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