Euro zone economic sentiment jumped to its highest level in 38 months in December according to a regular survey of businesses and consumers by the European Commission.
But at the same time news that German manufacturing orders grew 5.2 percent month-on-month in November – the strongest pace in 10 months – underscored an increasing divergence between core and peripheral euro zone countries.
The Brussels data showed economic sentiment rose in December in Germany, France and Italy, but declined in Greece and Spain.
Consumer inflation expectations for one year from now also surged.
Economists said all of that makes for difficult times ahead for the European Central Bank as it decides what to do with interest rates this year.