The confidence of business leaders and consumers improved again in December 2012 after an initial upturn in November, according to the economic surveys published by the European Commission, on 8 January. The economic sentiment indicator (ESI) rose to 87 in the eurozone, 1.3 points higher than in November. In the EU, it improved by 0.3 points, reaching 88.4. Prior to the November turnaround, the economic sentiment indicator had dropped for eight consecutive months.

Among the seven largest member states, economic sentiment improved in Italy (+2), Germany (+1) and France (+0.4) and remained broadly unchanged in Spain (+0.3), the Netherlands (+0.2) and Poland (-0.2). Sentiment clearly declined only in the United Kingdom (-3.5). Industry confidence rose for the second month in both the EU (+1.4) and the eurozone (+0.6).

Managers' assessment of finished stocks improved in the EU...

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