Bloomberg News

Euro-Area Consumer Confidence Drops to Lowest Since August 2009

October 20, 2011

Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- European consumer confidence dropped for a fourth month in October to the lowest in more than two years, adding to signs of a deepening economic slowdown.

An index of household sentiment in the 17-nation euro area fell to minus 19.9 from minus 19.1 in September, the Brussels- based European Commission said in an initial estimate today. That’s the lowest since August 2009. Economists forecast a drop to minus 20, the median of 29 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed.

European households are growing more pessimistic as the region’s debt crisis threatens to hurt economic growth and job creation. In Germany, Europe’s largest economy, investor confidence dropped more than economists forecast in October. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, the world’s largest maker of luxury goods, said Oct. 18 that sales in Europe trailed revenues in markets including Asia and the U.S.

“Business climate and consumer sentiment indicators are in an unchecked downtrend,” said Jan Amrit Poser, chief economist at Bank Sarasin in Zurich. “If this trend continues next month, recession seems unavoidable.”

The European Central Bank has cut its growth forecasts for this year and next to 1.6 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively. European services industries contracted in September, German investor confidence plunged to the lowest in almost three years this month and the commission forecast the recovery may come “close to standstill at year-end.”

The commission is scheduled to publish its monthly report on euro-area economic confidence, which includes the consumer- confidence gauge, on Oct. 27.

--Editors: Patrick G. Henry, Jones Hayden

To contact the reporter on this story: Simone Meier in Zurich at smeier@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net


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