Consumer confidence remains fairly stable
Bern, 07.11.2013 - Consumer confidence in Switzerland remained fairly stable during the first part of the year and between July and October 2013 as well. With a value of -5 points the consumer confidence index improved slightly on the result of the previous survey (-9 points in July) and was consequently also up on the long term average (also -9 points). On the one side this development reflects the more optimistic expectations of private households with regard to the economic prospects and the labour market over the next 12 months. On the other side, in October the expectations for their personal financial situation and opportunities for savings over the coming months remain broadly at the same level as in the July*.
Two of the four sub-indices which are included in the calculation of the consumer confidence index** point to a slightly more positive trend: the level of expectations amongst households for the future economic development, at +1 point, showed a marked improvement (compared with -6 points in the July). Since the beginning of 2013 this sub-index has been above the historical average of -10 points. Expectations regarding unemployment over the next 12 months were also viewed with greater optimism at +45 points in October (July: +54 points). By contrast, there was virtually no change in the assessment of households about the future development of their financial situation (0 points compared with -1 point in July) or their savings possibilities (+25 points compared with +26 points in July).
The remaining sub-indices in the survey which are not included in the calculation of the overall index paint a relatively mixed picture. There was a significant improvement in the assessment of the general economic development over the last twelve months in the October (+ 3 points compared with -9 points in July). The assessment of job security was also markedly improved (-54 points compared with -69 points in July). Households’ assessment on the current timing to make major purchases was slightly less favourable (the sub-index fell -5 points compared with 0 points in July). The remaining sub-indices essentially remained broadly stable. Households’ were only very slightly more optimistic about their personal financial situation over the last 12 months (-6 points compared with -8 points in the July); the savings possibilities in the current economic environment were only viewed marginally lower (+41 compared with +45 points in the August).
The assessments of inflation have been revised almost continually upwards since reaching their low point in October 2011. However, between October and July 2013 both the assessment of inflation over the last twelve months (+43 points compared with +44 points in the August) as well as the prospects for inflation for the coming twelve months (+54 points compared with +53 points in August) remain virtually unchanged. Both sub-indices remain clearly below their long-term average despite having risen since October 2011.
* 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” dated 7.05.2013 under: http://www.seco.admin.ch/themen/00374/00453/index.html?lang=de).
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