March 9, 2020 / 9:33 AM / 25 days ago

Euro zone investor morale slumps to 7-year low in March

BERLIN, March 9 (Reuters) - Investor morale in the euro zone plummeted in March to its lowest level since April 2013 as the coronavirus epidemic raised the prospect of a long period of economic weakness, a survey showed on Monday.

Sentix's index for the euro zone fell to -17.1 from 5.2 in February. The Reuters consensus forecast was for a fall to -11.1. Sentix surveyed 1,155 investors from March 5 to 7.

Sentix chief Manfred Huebner said "investors are preparing for a long period of economic weakness."

Germany, Europe's largest economy, on Sunday promised aid to firms hit by demand collapsing as a result of the coronavirus, while its health minister urged a halt to large public events in the hope of reducing the burden on the healthcare system.

Huebner said investors wanted to see "a strong signal from monetary policy".

European Central Bank policymakers meet on Thursday.

"Time is pressing! For if no action is taken, no one should be surprised by a new 'Lehman' moment that would increase the chaos," he said. "Either way, the recessionary environment that has now set in will probably weigh on us for months to come." (Writing by Paul Carrel; editing by Thomas Seythal)

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