Economic sentiment in both the European Union and Bulgaria experienced some turbulence in February, reflecting ongoing uncertainties surrounding economic recovery and global challenges. According to the latest monthly survey by the European Commission, while consumer sentiment showed marginal improvement, economic attitudes unexpectedly deteriorated.

In the EU, the Eurozone Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) declined to a three-month low of 95.4, signaling concerns about the state of the economy at the beginning of the year. This downturn was largely driven by weakened confidence in the services sector, alongside modest declines in industry, retail trade, and construction. Factors such as monetary tightening, sluggish growth in China, and repercussions from the energy crisis continue to exert negative pressure on the EU economy, which narrowly evaded recession in the latter half of 2023.

Among EU’s largest economies, Italy, Germany, and Poland witnessed the most significant declines in economic sentiment, while the Netherlands reported a slight improvement and France and Spain saw relative stabilization.

Despite the overall downturn, consumer confidence in the EU edged up in February, albeit marginally. However, sales price expectations declined across key business sectors, raising concerns about inflationary pressures.

In Bulgaria, economic sentiment also dipped in February to its lowest level since June 2023, with declines observed across various sectors including industry, services, retail trade, and construction. However, the National Statistical Institute (NSI) reported some stabilization in the country’s economic situation for the same period.

Interestingly, while the EU saw a decrease in its economic uncertainty indicator, Bulgaria experienced a slight improvement, reaching its highest level since June 2023. This disparity reflects the nuanced economic landscape across different regions within the EU.