BRUSSELS: The first half of the year saw Europe's advertising and marketing industry gaining significantly in confidence according to a new report.

The European Advertising Business Climate Index, published by the European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA), is based on monthly data collected from 43,000 companies for the European Commission.

This indicated rising optimism in advertising and marketing with the average business confidence index for the sector across all 28 EU member states rising from -2 to +15 in the six months from January to June 2015, as an average.

Demand for advertising services increased from -7 to +14 in the same period, with the upward trend also reflected in employment figures, which jumped from -4 to +5.

There were, however, marked regional differences in the overall positive trend. Advertising and marketing confidence was, unsurprisingly, lowest in Greece (-33), but France (-12), Estonia (-7), Cyprus (-2) and Belgium (-2) also returned a negative score.

Confidence was highest in Slovakia (+45), Malta (+40), Germany (+38) and Spain, Croatia and Lithuania (all +31). The greatest change occurred in Italy, where confidence swung from -15 to +18 over the first half of 2015.

Companies from Mediterranean Europe expressed the highest expectations for the third quarter of 2015, registering +23 points, despite an index of -25 for Greece, in comparison to -2 points for the first quarter of the year.

The UK, which has been cautious about the recovery, is also becoming more optimistic about future demand, registering an index of +24.9 points for the third quarter of 2015.

EACA President, David Patton, welcomed the "clear signs of recovery" in the industry.

"It is too early to say that this is a long term trend," he added, "but I am encouraged that this more positive outlook for the advertising industry will help support the media and reflects the growing willingness by advertisers to invest in their brands."

Data sourced from EACA; additional content by Warc staff