Europe Economy

Euro Zone Sentiment Rises for Third Month in a Row

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Euro zone economic sentiment improved more than expected across all sectors in January, rising for the third time in a row in a sign the economy could be emerging from a low point in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The European Commission's economic sentiment index rose to 89.2 points in January from 87.8 points in December, against market expectations of an improvement to 88.2.

Separately, the Commission's Business Climate Index - which points to the phase of the business cycle - also rose, to -1.09 points from -1.11 in December.

Both indices have been improving since October where they reached low points.

The Commission data released on Wednesday showed sentiment improved the most among consumers and in construction, but also in services - the biggest sector of the euro zone economy, which generates two-thirds of the single currency area's GDP.

Sentiment was also more upbeat in industry and the retail trade.

The Commission survey showed that inflation expectations among manufacturers eased to 2.1 from 2.5 in December and that the service sector expects prices to fall.

Consumers were expecting their financial situation to improve over the next 12 months, unemployment to fall and more were planning major purchases. Consumer inflation expectations in 2013 also showed expectations of an easing, to 21.8 from 23.7.