Earlier today, Ifo Institute published its survey of business sentiment in Germany. Here is the latest analysis of their data alongside the previously released euro area sentiment.
Euro area economic climate survey returned index reading of 118.9 at the start of Q3 2014, down sharply on Q2 2014 reading of 123.0 and the lowest reading in 3 quarters. Present situation reading remained unchanged at 128.7 which is identical to Q4 2011 reading and the highest reading since Q1 2012. However, expectations 6 months out index slipped to 113.1 from 119.7 3 months ago and is now at its lowest level for 4 quarters running.
With all of this, the expectations gap relative to current conditions reading - the metric that signals the expected contraction if below 100 and expansion if above 100 - has fallen to 87.9 from 93.0, marking the third consecutive quarter of decline and the third consecutive quarter of staying below 100.
That said, the error direction - the difference between previous expectation for current period and current conditions - remains negative at -9.0 points, for the fourth consecutive quarter running.
The above trends were also reflected in the EU Commission business sentiment surveys. Based on July data, Q3 sentiment is on the declining side, with July reading of 105.8 for EU27, down from Q2 2014 end of quarter reading of 106.4. For the euro area the index remains basically unchanged at 102.2 in July compared to 102.1 in June 2014.
Chart to illustrate
For Germany, Ifo Business Climate Survey for August 2014 came in with rather negative results. Index for industry and trade fell in August to 106.3 points from 108.0 in July. German companies are also more sceptical than in the previous month. As Ifo release states: "The German economy continues to lose steam". Current reading is at the lowest level since mid-2013 and the last time index increased was back in April 2014 with a significant rise last clocked in March 2014.
Chart to illustrate