Euro zone consumer confidence rises in April

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Consumer morale in the euro zone improved in April, the European Commission said on Monday, but remained well below the currency area's long-term average.

The Commission said consumer confidence in the 17-member euro zone rose to -22.3 this month from a March figure of -23.5.

The reading beat expectations of economists polled by Reuters, who had expected a deterioration to -23.85.

Consumer spending accounts for more than half of euro zone economic output, but with the effects of the debt crisis cutting disposable income, households have been in no position to contribute much to economic recovery.

In the wider 27-member European Union, consumer sentiment also improved in April, to -20.4, compared to -21.6 last month.

For European Commission data click on:

(Reporting by Robin Emmott; editing by Rex Merrifield)