Economic sentiment improved by 1.2 points in the eurozone and 1.8 points in the European Union (EU) in February compared with January, according to the European Commission, the executive body of the EU, on Tuesday.
The February figures continued the upward trend that started in the summer of 2005.
In both areas, the indicator is now considerably higher than its long term average.
The monthly economic sentiment indicator reflects the general economic activity of the EU. The indicator combines assessments and expectations stemming from business and consumer surveys conducted in different sectors of the economy: industry, services, construction and retail trade as well as consumers.
Developments in sector-level confidence indicators were also predominantly positive.
The EU registered a growth in confidence of 3 points in the industry sector and 1 point in both the retail sector and among consumers. In the construction sector, confidence remained unchanged. Only the services sector registered a slight fall in confidence.
The eurozone presents a very similar picture. At 2 points, the increase in confidence in the industry sector was slightly smaller than that in the EU as a whole. Moreover, while EU construction confidence did not witness any change, builders in the eurozone reported a small decline in confidence.
At country level, the picture is mostly positive. All of the larger member states reported an improvement in sentiment with the exception of Spain, where the indicator fell by more than 4 points.
Developments in Poland and Britain are worth noting. The slight improvement of the indicator in Poland adds to the record level reached in January. In Britain, the indicator picked up by more than 6 points after a decline spanning four consecutive months. Germany, France and Italy saw further increases of around 1 or 2 points.