BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone economic sentiment inched up in February as expected thanks to more optimism in industry and the services sector, despite weaker readings among consumers and in the retail and construction business, European Commission data showed.
The Commission’s monthly sentiment survey showed the overall index rising to 108.0 points in February from 107.9 in January, well above the long-term average of 100.0.
A separate business confidence indicator, which points to the phase of the business cycle, rose to 0.82 points in February from 0.76 in January, the highest since June 2011 and well above market expectations of a 0.79 reading.
The improvement in economic sentiment was driven mainly by more optimism in industry, with the index rising there to 1.3 point from 0.8 in January, and in the services sector where it rose to 13.8 from 12.8.
Sentiment in the retail sector, in construction and among consumers deteriorated.
(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski)