BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone consumer confidence fell more than expected in June, figures released by the European Commission showed on Thursday, adding to signs in the second quarter of a cooling of the bloc’s economy.
While the Commission did not give details on the reason for the deterioration, protectionist talk by the United States administration and fear of a trade war with China and the European Union have spooked markets worldwide.
The downward pressure on economic growth in the quarter is also a headache for policy makers at the European Central Bank set to end a stimulus program by the year-end.
The Commission said a flash estimate showed euro zone consumer morale dropped to -0.5 in June from +0.2 in May. This was below expectations of a decline to 0.0 in a Reuters poll of 30 economists.
In the European Union as a whole, consumer sentiment fell to -1.3, the Commission added.
Last week, output at euro zone factories for April showed a larger than expected decrease. Next Thursday, business confidence data for the euro zone as well as for the bloc’s largest economy Germany will be released.
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Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg