BERLIN (Reuters) - Sentiment in the euro zone weakened slightly in May but analysts and investors were more upbeat about the current situation than at any point since mid-2011, a survey showed on Monday, suggesting they are generally brushing off the Greek crisis.
Sentix research group’s index tracking morale among investors and analysts in the euro zone slipped to 19.6 in May from 20.0 in April. That was slightly below the Reuters consensus forecast for a reading of 19.8.
“The stability of the headline index is remarkable given that Greece’s future is yet to be cleared up,” said Sebastian Wanke, senior analyst at Sentix.
Talks between Greece and its international lenders have been painfully slow as the leftist-led government is resisting cuts in pensions and labour reforms. But a government official said on Sunday that the negotiations to unlock remaining bailout aid had made headway.
Sentix said the index tracking Austria had improved significantly as tensions surrounding the Ukraine conflict eased and the economy in eastern Europe picked up, helping to boost the overall mood in the euro zone.
Sub-indices showed that while investors’ perceptions of current conditions in the bloc were the brightest since July 2011, their expectations worsened considerably.
Nonetheless, Wanke said that the headline index, which remains at a high level overall, should be interpreted as “a sign of a stable upturn in the single currency bloc”.
An index tracking Germany showed sentiment in Europe’s largest economy declined for a second month running as their expectations deteriorated, with Sentix pointing to effects from a firmer euro and mixed signals from the US economy.
The survey of 1,003 investors was conducted between April 29 and May 2.
Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Caroline Copley