Europe Investor Confidence Jumps as Debt Crisis Improves

European investor confidence increased for a fifth month in January as signs that the region’s debt crisis is easing multiplied, the Sentix research institute said today.

An index measuring sentiment in the euro-area economy advanced to minus 7 from minus 16.8 in December, the Limburg, Germany-based institute said in an e-mailed statement. That is the highest level since July 2011. Economists had forecast a gain to minus 14.2, according to the median of 12 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. A gauge of economic expectations climbed to 12 from minus 1.5, while a measure of current conditions rose to minus 24.3 from minus 31, Sentix said.

The European Central Bank’s pledge last year to buy unlimited government bonds of countries signing up to reform plans has damped expectations that the euro area would break up. Since then, Greece has secured further aid needed to prevent default and the region’s leaders have agreed a plan for greater financial-market coordination.

“That the improvement in the index has been so strong is partly down to many small improvements in the euro area such as Greece’s successful debt buyback,” said Sebastian Wanke, an economist at Sentix. “On the other hand, the U.S. has avoided falling over the fiscal cliff, and that is reflected in the indexes.”

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