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Business, consumer confidence improve - GKI

Economic research company GKI's and Erste Bank's combined consumer and business confidence index edged up to -9.1 points in April from -10.7 points in March.

The index, prepared with European Union support, was lifted by a noticeable improvement in business sentiment and a smaller one in consumer confidence.

The business confidence index climbed to +0.6 points in April from -1.3 in March.

Confidence among industrial companies continued a steady improvement started two years earlier. Assessments of production levels, outlook and stock of orders all improved. Companies were using more than 80% of capacity on average.

Confidence in the construction sector was little changed in April from March. Assessments of output and stock of orders worsened while more companies planned to make new hires. The companies had a poor outlook for the economy as a whole

The measure of sentiment among trade companies inched up in April after falling in the previous two months. Companies' expectations for orders worsened slightly, but inventories and sales positions improved a bit. Fewer companies planned to raise prices.

In the service sector, companies offered a worsening assessment of business trends but still expected turnover to rise. Fewer companies planned to make new hires.

The consumer confidence index improved to -36.8 points in April from -37.3 in March. Households were more concerned about unemployment but were more optimistic about the outlook for the economy as a whole. More people said the outlook for their financial situations over the next twelve months was poor and fewer expected to make savings. More people said they could buy big-ticket items now but fewer planned such purchases over the next year.