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Euro-Area Economic Confidence Improved This Quarter, Ifo Says

Confidence in the euro-area economy improved this quarter amid signs the region is beginning to emerge from recession, Germany’s Ifo institute said.

An index measuring economic sentiment in the 17-nation currency bloc increased to 95.1 from 81.7 in the final three months of 2012, Munich-based Ifo said in an e-mailed statement today, citing its quarterly World Economic Survey. That’s the first gain in three quarters. A measure of current conditions fell to 95.1 from 97.9, while a gauge of expectations surged to 95.1 from 72.1, the highest level in almost two years.

“A silver lining is appearing on the horizon,” Ifo said. “The economic situation in the euro area is expected to improve within the next six months.”

Euro-area inflation expectations for 2013 average 2.1 percent, Ifo said. That’s above the European Central Bank’s 2 percent price-stability threshold. Survey respondents predict short-term interest rates and the exchange rate versus the U.S. dollar to remain broadly unchanged in the next six months.

The survey is based on responses from 281 economic experts and conducted in cooperation with the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris.

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