Economic sentiment in the 16 countries that use the euro is at its highest level for over two years, the European Commission said Thursday.
In its monthly survey, the Commission said its sentiment indicator for the eurozone rose to 101.3 points in July from 99 in June. Most analysts were not expecting much of a change.
The July level is the highest since March 2008 and provided further evidence that the eurozone economic recovery is gathering pace even at a time when the U.S. economic data has generally disappointed.
The Commission said the majority of countries in the eurozone posted improvements during the month, with Germany, Europe's biggest economy, registering the biggest increase. However, it wasn't all good news, with sentiment down sharply in Spain and Greek confidence worryingly low in a sign that the most indebted European countries still have a way to go.
The survey also added weight to the argument that the eurozone economy is highly dependent on the pickup in global trade.
Analysts say that a marked pickup in consumer demand is necessary for the eurozone economic recovery to become self-sustaining especially if the U.S. enters a more choppy period.
"In all, then, there are more encouraging signs here for the region as a whole but the recovery will need to spread to domestic spending and the peripheral economies if it is to be sustained," said Jennifer McKeown, senior European economist at Capital Economics.
The data helped the euro push up towards 11-week highs. It was trading 0.6 percent higher on the day at $1.3066, just shy of the $1.3076 level it hit earlier in the session, its highest level since May 4.
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