Consumer morale in the euro zone improved by more than expected in August, jumping to its highest level in two years, the European Commission said on Friday, adding to encouraging signs that the bloc has started to recover.
Consumer confidence in the 17 countries using the euro rose to -15.6 points in August from -17.4 points in July, beating market expectations for a rise to -16.50 points.
The reading was the best since August 2011, when it stood at -16.5.
In the whole of the European Union, consumer confidence recovered even more strongly to -12.8 from -14.8 in July.
Improved consumer confidence follows Thursday’s encouraging data on business activity in the euro zone in August, which picked up faster than expected, raising expectations that the third quarter will show further improvement.
The bloc of countries in the single currency emerged from its longest recession yet in the second quarter with modest growth of 0.3 percent, thanks to better than expected economic expansion in Germany and France.
The rebound, however, remains fragile as southern periphery countries such as Greece, Portugal and Spain continue to struggle with the impact of recession as well as the conditions imposed for receiving international aid.