January 7, 2019 / 9:38 AM / 4 months ago

Euro zone investor morale hits new four-year low in January

A protester wearing yellow vest holds a flare in front of the town hall as he takes part in a demonstration of the "yellow vests" movement in Marseille, France, January 5, 2019. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

BERLIN (Reuters) - Investor morale in the euro zone slumped to a fresh four-year low in January, weighed down by concerns about a possible no-deal Brexit, the impact of “yellow vest” protests in France and a weaker global economic backdrop.

Sentix research group said its investor sentiment index for the euro zone slid to -1.5 from -0.3 in December, falling for the fifth month in a row to hit its lowest level since December 2014. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a reading of -2.8.

A sub-index on expectations fell to -19.3 from -18.8 the previous month. A sub-index on current conditions fell to 18.0 from 20.0.

“With these data, the euro zone is dangerously close to stagnation,” Sentix managing director Manfred Huebner said in a statement. “Neither politicians nor central banks seem to have really grasped the extent of this loss of momentum.”

“The possible ‘hard Brexit’ and the lack of support from the global economy remain negative factors,” he added. “In any case, investors do not expect the central banks to provide rapid support.”

A separate index on investor morale in Germany fell in January to 6.1 from 7.2, the third decline in a row, but Huebner noted that “like a heavy steamer or freight train, it only loses momentum slowly at full speed.”

Sentix surveyed 998 investors from Jan. 3-5.

Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Toby Chopra

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