The economic mood in the crisis-hit eurozone brightened slightly as 2012 came to end with a key sentiment indicator released Tuesday hitting a six-month high in December.
The European Commission said its closely watched Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) climbed more than forecast from 85.7 points in November to 87.0 last month. The increase meant that the indicator has increased for two consecutive months.
Analysts had expected a more modest gain in the monthly survey of consumer and business confidence to 86.5 points.
"The improvement in financial market sentiment and better economic news from abroad (the US and China in particular) is making eurozone consumers and, especially, businesses less gloomy over economic prospects," said ING Bank economist Martin van Vliet.
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