German consumer morale improved heading into May with shoppers becoming increasingly upbeat about their future income. Good news for Mario Draghi - but, as David Pollard reports, the ECB chief has other worries.
If Germany's Lufthansa planes are stuck on the tarmac for now, confidence among consumers there is gently getting airborne. That despite a wave of public sector strikes hitting not only airports, but schools and other services. (SOUNDBITE) (German) RESEARCHER AT GFK, ROLF BUERKL, SAYING: "Domestic consumer conditions are currently excellent. Possible risks come primarily from outside." At 9.7, the latest survey from GfK is the highest since September. Consumption in Spain also reported as on the up - despite its political deadlock. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, CCLA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, JAMES BEVAN, SAYING: "The fact that we are seeing better consumer confidence numbers does at least suggest that Mr Draghi's wish to have a recovery in Europe may be beginning to bear some fruit." Though it might be bitter sweet for the ECB chief, amid tension with Germany over ultra-low interest rates ... And while industrial unrest confirms labour reform as still a major challenge. France, at least, has just seen a sharp pull-back from its record 10% unemployment rate. Though consumer confidence there is languishing at an 8-month low. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, CCLA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, JAMES BEVAN, SAYING: "What the French economy needs more than anything is structural reform. Now, Mr Hollande knows that well, but he does not have the political support to drive structural change." Reform also the key word for Greece - hopes for new bailout funds apparently receding. Eurogroup ministers are now NOT due to meet to finalise a deal on Thursday as intended. More time needed, it's reported, to iron out key differences.