Europe: Markets easing up


Santa is smiling in Germany. A respected study of business leaders published today shows optimism for the economy in 2012 despite the euro zone's woes.


Sean Gallup

A few bits of good news crept around the edges of the gloom that has enveloped the continent in the last half of this year.

Spain sold short term debt at an auction today. Yields, the interest Spain agreed to pay, fell dramatically, from over 5 percent at the previous auction to 2.4 percent for six month t-bills, to 1.7 percent for three-month bills.

Spain is not out of the woods by any means. El Pais in English notes that house prices continue to drop and "the value of repossessed homes held by banks are on average 43 percent below the valuations assigned to them in mortgages."

Other positive signs:

German business confidence for 2012 is up. Those are the findings of the respected Ifo Institute in Munich. Bloomberg talks to an expert in London about this. "It just confirms that Germany is weathering the storm,” said Tobias Blattner, an economist at Daiwa Capital Markets Europe in London. “Order books are still full, wage agreements are boosting consumer confidence and any decline in exports to the euro area is being cushioned by the U.S. and China.”

Choo-choo-choo ... phew! The great locomotive of the euro zone is still chugging along.

That's the best Christmas news this continent could have.