Consumer sentiment remains mildly optimistic
Bern, 07.05.2013 - After improving noticeably in January, there was no further improvement in consumer confidence in Switzerland in April 2013. With a value of -5 points (-6 points in January) the consumer confidence index remained slightly above the historical average; this assessment reflects a mild optimism among households since last January. Confi-dence about jobs and the prospects for unemployment was seen in April as slightly less negative than in the January*.
Of the four sub-indices which are included in the calculation of the consumer confidence index**, two have shown virtually no change between January and April. In April the level of expectations amongst households for the future economic development was approximately the same as in January (+3 in April, -0 in January). This index remains thus above the historic (long-term) average level of -10 points. Between April and January there was also very little change in the expectations of households for the future development of their personal financial situation, (+2 points in April +4 points in January). By contrast, the savings possibili-ties for the months ahead were assessed as less positive than in January (+23 points in April, +34 points in January). This contrasts with a marked improvement in the expectations for the development of unemployment (+47 points in April, +62 points in January).
The remaining sub-indices in the survey which are not included for the purpose of calculating the overall index also paint a rather uneven picture. The assessment of the general economic development over the last twelve months was virtually unchanged in April and January (-7 points in April, -10 points in January). In April households were slightly less optimistic about the development of their financial situation over the last twelve months (-10 points in April, -1 points in January). By contrast, there was a marked improvement in the assessment of job security in April to - 65 points compared with -74 points in the January, although this was still below the historic average of -55. The assessment of the savings possibilities in the current economic situation was less positive (+41 points in April, +50 points in January); there was virtually no change in the assessment regarding the timing of larger purchases (+5 points in April, +9 points in January).
Households’ expectations for inflation showed only a slight change. The assessment of infla-tion over the last twelve months was revised slightly upwards (+32 points in April, +25 points in January). There was little change in the expectations for inflation over the next twelve months (+34 in April, +36 in January). These two sub-indices have remained significantly below their long-term average since January 2009.
*In the months of January, April, July and October approx. 1’200 randomly selected individuals are surveyed on behalf of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) regarding their subjective assessment of the economic situation, their personal financial situation, inflation, job security etc. The surveys are conducted by the market research institute DemoScope.
**Since the publication of the survey results from October 2009 two additional questions have been included. One is a question regarding the expectations for the development of unemployment and the other is about the probability of households being able to save in the future. The new questions help in the calculation of a new, official, more EU-compatible consumer confidence index. The three new quarterly series begin from April 2007. With the publication dated 7.5.2013 the SECO will be switching the publication of the survey results over completely to the new EU-compatible index of consumer confidence (see technical memorandum „Simplified method of communicating the Consumer Confidence Index“ (available in English) dated 7.05.2013 under:
Addendum to the Press Release dated 7.05.2013
Simplified method of communicating the Consumer Confidence Index
With the press release dated 7.5.2013 the SECO will be switching over completely to the new EU-compatible consumer confidence index for communicating the survey results. The change in the old index will no longer be commented on. Since the new index can only be calculated from April 2007 a retrospective calculation (retropolation) was carried out for the period prior to April 2007 back to October 1972.
(This Addendum is available as a document in pdf format)
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