Confidence in eurozone dives

Confidence plunged again in the eurozone this month as austerity bites and the single-currency bloc heads towards an all-but-inevitable recession, the European Commission warned yesterday.

The deeper-than-expected slide in its April confidence measure comes two weeks ahead of official figures, expected to confirm a double dip after a 0.3 per cent slide at the end of last year.

Christoph Weil, a senior economist at Commerzbank, said: "The situation is worsening again. Periphery countries are behind budget targets with their economies deep in recession."

The European picture was in contrast to a slight improvement in the Nationwide's UK confidence index for March.