BERLIN (Reuters) – Investor morale in the euro zone improved marginally in May but the assessment of current conditions hit an all-time low as the bloc faces unprecedented challenges posed by the coronavirus crisis, a survey showed on Monday.
Sentix’s index for the euro zone edged up to -41.8 from -42.9 in April. That compared with the Reuters consensus forecast for a reading of -33.5.
The current situation index dropped for a fourth straight month, hitting a record low of -73.0 after -66.0 in April.
“The economy in the euro zone has experienced a breathtaking crash in recent weeks,” said Sentix managing director Manfred Huebner. “This collapse goes far beyond the distortions caused by the financial crisis.”
The expectations index for the bloc rose to -3.0 from -15.8, with Huebner saying this showed investors believed there was light at the end of the tunnel.
“Countries like Germany and Austria are in a position to gradually lift the often drastic measures,” he said.
Germany has been in lockdown for weeks, with companies closing facilities and switching workers to shorter hours under a government scheme aimed at avoiding mass layoffs. But small shops reopened last week.
In Germany, the assessment of the current situation fell to a record low but expectations picked up.
“There is now a danger that recessionary tendencies will become entrenched if the economy is too slow to recover,” Huebner said.
Sentix, which surveyed 1,213 investors between April 30 and May 2, said there were signs that the economy in China – where the coronavirus outbreak started – was picking up.
(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Paul Carrel)