EU Businesses Saw Profits Rise at End of 2016

(CN) – Business investments and profits rose slightly in the 19-state eurozone at the end of 2016, two more indications the European Union is finally shaking off the economic malaise brought by the 2008 global fiscal meltdown.

Eurostat said Wednesday the business investment rate for states that use the euro as currency spiked to 23.5 percent at the end of 2016, up 1.5 percent from the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, business profit share in the eurozone rose modestly to 41 percent, up from 40.7 percent in the third quarter of 2016.

The investment rate marked the first substantial rise since 2009, indicating businesses are finally feeling bullish about the European Union’s economic prospects. However, the figure still lags behind the 24 percent investment rate seen in 2007, before the global economic bubble burst.

Profit shares have risen – and fallen – more modestly since the 2008 crash.

In other fourth-quarter economic news, Eurostat said eurozone households saved and invested less at the end of 2016.

The saving rate dropped 0.3 percent to 12 percent, capping a year in which Europeans put aside less for a rainy day.

They also invested less in the fourth quarter, with the rate dropping a tenth of a point to 8.5 percent of income.

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