Monday, the week started with some positive news for the euro area, while some depressing news for the British economy. Consumer confidence in Germany stood unchanged in May compared with previous two months, while it jumped in Italy. Meanwhile, house prices and mortgage approvals for house purchases fell in the UK.


German consumer confidence managed to remain unchanged for the third month in May despite the less favorable economic conditions prevailing and gloomy predictions, a closely watched survey revealed.

The overall consumer confidence index is forecasting a value of 2.5 points for May, unchanged from a revised 2.5 points reported in April, market research group GfK said. Economists were expecting a reading of 2.3 for May.

Elsewhere, the Federal Statistical Office said Germany's import price index in March fell at its fastest annual rate since April 1987. Import prices dropped 7.1% year-on-year in March after falling 6.4% in February and 5.4% in January. Prices fell for the fifth consecutive month and the decline was quicker than a 6.5% fall forecast. On a monthly basis, import prices were down 0.4% in March following a 0.1% decrease in February.

Italian economic think tank ISAE said its gauge for the country's consumer confidence rose to 104.9 in April from 99.8 in March. That was the highest reading since December 2007. Meanwhile, economists had forecast the indicator to remain at 99.8.

Consumer confidence in Finland improved in April, with the indicator moving up to 1.0 from minus 1.5 in March, the Statistics Finland said. Elsewhere, the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK said manufacturing confidence increased slightly to minus 33 in April from a revised minus 35 in March.

The latest report from the General Secretariat of the National Statistical Service of Greece showed that industrial turnover dropped 25.6% annually in February, in contrast to a 19.4% rise in January.

Rest of Europe

In the UK, house prices fell 0.3% month-on-month in April, by the slowest pace in a year, a report by property consultants Hometrack showed. Year-on-year, house prices were down 10.1% in April.

The British economy is likely to contract 4% this year and will shrink another 1% in the next year, reports said Monday citing Roger Bootle, an economic adviser at Deloitte & Touche LLP and managing director of Capital Economics.

In other news, the British Bankers' Association said the number of loans approved for house purchases in the UK fell to 26,097 in March from 28,024 in February. Mortgages approved in March were 25.3% lower than the previous year's level.

Economic sentiment in the Czech Republic rose to 79.0 in April from 75.3 in March as all of its sub-indicators except the gauge for construction moved up, the statistical office said.

Sweden recorded a trade surplus of SEK8.1 billion in March, lower than a surplus of SEK9.5 billion in February.

Poland's jobless rate rose to 11.2% in March from 10.9% in February, the Central Statistical Office said. The statistical office also said retail sales at current prices declined 0.8% year-on-year in March, slower than a 1.6% drop in February.

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