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Young Europeans Lead Revival of Optimism in Region's Future

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Young Europeans are the most optimistic age group in the region, with a growing number saying they believe they’ll be better off than their parents.

It’s a key finding in the latest Intrum European Consumer Payment Report, in which the Swedish debt collection company surveyed about 24,000 people in 24 countries. Just over half the 18-24 year-olds surveyed said their financial circumstances are improving, up from only 40 percent in 2016, Intrum said.

Optimism is also improving overall, with 29 percent saying their country’s economy is improving, up from 20 percent last year. Some 38 percent said their personal financial situation is getting better, up from 30 percent. Optimism has improved in the past 12 months, possibly as an effect of the past few years of economic recovery in many European economies, Intrum said.

“The European consumers feel a bit better -- they seem to feel that there is a more positive economic development going on,” Intrum Chief Executive Officer Mikael Ericson said in a phone interview. “It’s now been almost ten years since the financial crisis, and time heals some wounds.”

The European Union will probably grow more than 2 percent this year and next, according to November forecasts by the EU Commission. 

The survey also found that “the greatest optimism” regarding personal financial prospects was seen in respondents aged 18-24 years. In 2017, 37 percent of respondents said they believe they will be financially better off than their parents, up from 29 percent in 2016 and 31 percent in 2015.

“The number of consumers prepared to finance their consumption through loans has increased three years in a row, for example to buy holidays,” Ericson said. “This is a clear sign that the European consumer is feeling somewhat more secure, however, it might also pose a risk if they take on unsound credits.”

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