Business confidence is up in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Consumer Confidence is up in Italy. Retail sales are doing well in Germany and in the UK. Retails Sales for the EU-28 is 0.9% higher than this time last year, which is the best we have seen in seven months. In addition, the Europe Leading Indicator is ascending.
Best of all, manufacturing is beginning to stir to life in Europe. The manufacturing production indices for Germany, France, Italy and Spain (yes, Spain) are all improving. The annual year-over-year trends have all troughed and are in various stages of heading through the acceleration phase of the business cycle (Phase A for long-time ITR Economics readers). Expect more (albeit generally modest) upside momentum through the rest of the year.
The improvement is good news for American manufacturers and distributors who sell into Europe. Exports out of the US to Europe are rising off a February 2013 low. The 12.1% gain since February matches the onset of the 2009-12 rise through the same time period. The opportunities for US companies to sell into Europe are growing and apparently many firms are taking advantage of the good news.