Eurozone Economic Confidence Hits Record High

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Eurozone economic confidence hit a record high in July driven by rising sentiment in the industrial and service sectors, survey results from the European Commission showed on Thursday.

The economic confidence index rose to 119.0 from 117.9 in June. This was the highest since records began in 1985 and also well above economists' forecast of 118.5.

However, compared to the previous months, the latest improvement was much weaker, suggesting that the indicator is approaching its peak, the EU said.

The improvement in the overall economic confidence was largely driven by industrial and services confidence. Meanwhile, sentiment among consumers and contractors weakened in June.

The industrial sentiment index dropped unexpectedly to 14.6 from 12.8 in the previous month. The score was forecast to climb marginally to 13.

At the same time, the services confidence index advanced to 19.3 from 17.9 in June. However, the reading was below economists' expectation of 19.9.

The final consumer confidence index came in at -4.4 in July, in line with the flash estimate, and down from June's -3.3.

The confidence index for retailers dropped marginally to 4.6 from 4.7 a month ago. The construction confidence indicator declined to 4.0 in July from 5.2 in the previous month.

The employment expectations indicator stayed flat in July as more optimistic employment plans in industry and retail trade coincided with more cautious reassessments of plans in services and construction.

Selling price expectations saw the fifth month of steep increases in services, retail trade and construction, while they stayed virtually unchanged in industry.

Data showed that the business confidence index rose to 1.90 in July from 1.70 in June.

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