Economic sentiment continued its improvement in February

The Economic Sentiment Index of the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) climbed to its highest level in five-and-a-half years in February. Still, consumer confidence posted a marginal decline, reflecting households’ concern about the future, data showed on Tuesday.

The reading of the climate index in Greece rose last month to 94.8 points from 92.6 points in January. A significant improvement was recorded in the business sector, with expectations in all domains examined – industry, retail commerce, services and construction – posting a recovery.

“In general, the trend toward improvement appears to have been strengthening since the start of the year, a development that converges with the broader macroeconomic data, such as the weakening of the recession, as well as certain short-term indices in economic sectors,” the IOBE report said.

IOBE analysts believe that the economy is gradually creating the conditions for stability, with the respective adjustment of citizens’ and enterprises’ expectations to the new situation in revenues and domestic demand, albeit at lower levels compared with the pre-crisis period.

* Industry: The forecasts for the short-term outlook of output and estimates on the current levels of orders and demand are gaining ground, with the product stock index remaining unchanged.

* Services: Estimates on the current activity of enterprises are improving, as are those on current demand and forecasts for their short-term outlook.

* Retail commerce: The negative estimates about current sales are diminishing. This is also the case with the unfavorable forecasts on their short-term outlook, but with estimated stock levels rising, according to the IOBE survey.

* Construction: Negative forecasts regarding the scheduled activities of enterprises in the sector remain at the same level, but the employment index is rising again and driving the overall sentiment index for construction higher.

* Consumer confidence: Forecasts about the economic state of households and the country as well as the course of unemployment over the next 12 months remained virtually unchanged, while fewer people are able to see any hope of managing to save money.