Euro Consumer Confidence Fell Short of Expectations in March

Euro zone’s Consumer Confidence improved for the fourth consecutive month but less than analysts’ expectations in March indicating signs of the region’s sluggish growth.

The European Commission in Brussels released a report today showing that the index household confidence marginally rose to minus 23.5 from minus 23.6 in February. Analysts projected a minus 32.2 according to the median of 26 estimates in a Bloomberg News Study. In the wider 27-member European, March consumer sentiment was unchanged from the last month at minus 21.6.

Meanwhile the current account surplus narrowed from €16.0bn to €14.8bn in Jan.

Cyprus Bailout Update

Following the Cypriot parliament’s rejection of the bailout plan and levy deposits, the European Commission, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund and Cypriot authorities are yet come to an agreement.

Russian energy company Gazprom is reported to propose a rescue package on the condition that Cyprus will provide an exclusive exploration rights to the country’s offshore gas deposits.

According to Joerg Asmussen, European Central Bank’s chief negotiator, European banks will likely be shut down unless the country receives a financial lifeline quickly.

Cypriot banks will remain closed through the end of the week and capital controls are being devised in an effort to prevent a run on Cyprus’ financial institutions.

For the 24 hours to 23:00 GMT, EUR rose 0.58% against the USD and closed at 1.2939, as immediate fears about a financial meltdown in Cyprus softened after news that the government would devise a new plan to secure an aid package.