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Friday, 3 May, 2002, 10:15 GMT 11:15 UK
Eurozone confidence edges lower
German shoppers
Shoppers in the eurozone fear an economic dip
Economic confidence in the eurozone weakened in April from the previous month, surveys of both businesses and consumers have shown.

All in all the selection of euro area data... is a disappointment relative to expectations

Edward Teather
UBS Warburg
Separately, statistics showed that the prices charged by manufacturers in the eurozone fell in March from a year earlier.

"All in all the selection of euro area data... is a disappointment relative to expectations," said UBS Warburg analysts Edward Teather.

But in the European Union (EU) as a whole, there was more optimism to be found, according to the European Commission surveys.

The economic sentiment indicator for the 12 countries in the eurozone fell to 99.4 in April from 99.5 in March.

The fall was the first since November 2001. Analysts had expected a rise to 99.7.

The same indicator for the 15 EU member countries rose to 100 in April from 99.7 in March.

Pessimistic eurozone

Other Commission surveys confirmed the weak outlook in the eurozone countries.

Its business climate indicator fell to minus 0.64 in April from a revised March figure of minus 0.59.

"Such developments were mainly driven by the worsening in opinions about production trends in the recent past, while production expectations remained unchanged," the European Commission said.

Industrial confidence also slipped from minus 11 to minus 10 while the consumer confidence fell from 9 to 10.

The weaker consumer confidence "may reflect a less vibrant labour market or an adverse reaction price rises linked to the euro changeover", said Mr Teather.

Producer prices in the eurozone fell 0.8% in March compared with a year earlier, but when compared with February they rose 0.4%, the EU's statistics office Eurostat said on Friday.

See also:

02 May 02 | Business
Eurozone rates left unchanged
24 Apr 02 | Business
European economy turns the corner
05 Mar 02 | Business
Tricky issues at EU finance meeting
27 Feb 02 | Business
German recession confirmed
13 Feb 02 | Business
Succession scramble at ECB
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