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Euro-Area Consumer Sentiment Unexpectedly Falls as Economy Slows

Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Euro-area consumer confidence unexpectedly declined in November, as the 17-nation currency bloc struggled to recover from a record-long recession.

An index of household confidence in the euro area fell to minus 15.4 from minus 14.5 in October, the European Commission in Brussels said in a preliminary report today. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 27 economists was for an increase to minus 14.

Euro-zone economic growth cooled in the third quarter and the European Central Bank cut its main refinancing rate to a record-low 0.25 percent on Nov. 7, based in part on its forecast for “continued, albeit modest, growth in the second half of the year.”

The currency bloc’s economy grew 0.1 percent in the third quarter after expanding 0.3 percent in the previous three months. Economists in a separate Bloomberg survey saw gross domestic product rising 0.2 percent this quarter and 0.3 percent in the first three months of 2014.

A study by Deloitte LLP this month showed French shoppers plan to cut their Christmas-season spending, joining Italians and Greeks in reducing purchases as unemployment in the euro region lingers at record highs. Economists forecast the jobless rate will remain at 12 percent or above through 2015. Retail sales slipped 0.6 percent in September from the previous month.

Still, European new car sales rose in October for a second month for the first time since 2011. Registrations increased 4.6 percent from a year earlier to 1.04 million autos.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angeline Benoit in Madrid at abenoit4@bloomberg.net

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

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