Eurozone economic confidence up in December

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Confidence in the economy of the crisis-hit eurozone rose in December, pulled by strong readings in regional powerhouses France and Germany, a key EU indicator showed on Thursday.

The Economic Sentiment Indicator published by the European Commission rose by 1.1 points to 106.2 points across the 16-nation single currency area -- now 17 since Estonia joined on January 1, 2011.

In the wider 27-nation European Union, confidence rose 1.0 point to 106.1 points.

A majority of EU countries reported an improvement in sentiment although among the seven largest economies, only Spain, which has launched biting austerity measures to tackle a big deficit, recorded a drop, of 0.9 percent.

France led the pack with a gain of 2.5 points, followed by 2.4 points in the Netherlands, 1.5 points in Germany and 1.3 points in Poland. More modest gains were reported in Italy, 0.8 points, and Britain, 0.7 points.

Sentiment in industry rose sharply, by 3.6 points, in the EU and 3.3 points in the eurozone, but consumer confidence fell 1.1 points in the EU and 1.6 points in the eurozone.

© 2011 AFP

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