European stocks declined on Thursday, extending early losses. Besides the positive German IFO business climate data Greece remains in the focus. Officials reported that the Greek government will present an updated list with planned reforms on Monday 30th to its Eurozone creditors. The air strikes on Houthi rebels, supported by Iran, in Yemen launched by Saudi Arabia and its allies weighs markets down as the geopolitical risks, including a direct conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, is rising.
Consumer Confidence in the Eurozone's largest economy rose again - the powerhouse of the E.U. is on track for a strong recovery. Today the GFK Institut für Marktforschung reported the Consumer Confidence Survey for April. The survey of about 2000 consumers showed an increase of the index from a previous reading of 9.7 to 10, beating estimates of 9.8.
The GFK Institute named a weaker euro as a consequence of the ECB's low interest rates policy and lower energy costs as main drivers of the increase. The German economy is very export-oriented and therefore amongst the biggest winners from a weakening single currency.
Today the ECB reported Eurozone's M3 money supply grew 4% in February, less than the expected 4.3% and but at a faster pace than in January ( 3.7%).
Loans to the private sector declined and remained in negative territory for almost 3 years now. Private Loans declined by -0.1%, at the same pace as a year ago, below an estimated increase of 0.1%.
Retail Sales for February rose 0.7% compared to a decline in January of -0.3% and above estimates predicting an increase of 0.4%. Year on year Sales rose 5.7% according to the Office for National Statistics. A lower inflation rate and real wage growth boosted sales. Lower costs for food and energy were the main drivers. The CBI retail sales volume balance for March rose from 1 to 18 but remained under the estimated increase to 20.
The commodity heavy FTSE 100 index is currently trading lower, quoted at 6,896.40 -1.35%. Germany's DAX 30 slumped -1.75% trading at 11,675.70 points. France's CAC 40 is currently trading at 4,944.27 points, -1.53%.