BRUSSELS, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Euro zone consumer confidence improved marginally in October against the previous month, the first estimate from the European Commission showed on Tuesday.
The Commission said consumer confidence inched up to -25.6 points in October from -25.9 points in September in the 17 countries sharing the euro. In the wider European Union, consumer confidence deteriorated to -24.2 from -24.0.
Consumer spending makes up more than half of the euro zone’s economic output, but households are in no position to help a recovery as the impact of the debt crisis cuts their disposable income.
EU leaders want to drive economic growth and employment after nearly three years of crisis and austerity, but the bloc has little immediate cash to invest and faces the longer-term challenge of falling productivity and an ageing workforce.
Gross domestic product in the 17 countries using the euro fell 0.2 percent in the second quarter of this year from the first. Most economists see the euro zone, which generates 16 percent of global economic output, shrinking by at least 0.3 percent this year. A recovery may only come in mid-2013. (Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; editing by Rex Merrifield)