Increasing consumer confidence
Bern, 06.02.2014 - Consumer confidence in Switzerland improved between October 2013 and January 2014*. The overall index rose from -5 in October to +2 points in January and thus continues to evolve above the historical average of -9 points. Households are clearly more confident about the general economic outlook in particular. In addition, they are slightly more positive about the prospects for their personal financial situation and for a gradual fall in unemployment than they were in the last survey.
Of the four future-related sub-indices which are included in the calculation of the consumer sentiment index** the assessment of the future development of the economy showed the biggest improvement. Following the increased optimism about the future development of the economy in October last year, there was a further marked rise in expectations in January 2014 (+18 points compared with +1 point in October 2013), clearly exceeding the historic average of -10 points for this subindex. Expectations of unemployment over the next twelve months are also slightly more optimistic (+40 compared with +45). There has been a slight improvement in domestic householders‘ assessment of their financial situation over the next twelve months (+4 points compared with 0 points), whilst the expectations for savings possibilities remained stable (+25 points, unchanged over October 2013).
Of the remaining sub-indices in the survey which are not included in the calculation of the overall index, the survey in January showed a particular improvement in the general economic development over the past 12 months (+12 compared with +3 points in October 2013). Furthermore, households were more positive about their expectations of the current timing for larger purchases (+8 points compared with -5 points) and see increased possibilities for savings (+47 points compared with +41 points). There was virtually no change in the assessment of the financial situation over the last twelve months (-8 points compared with -6 points). They are slightly more negative about job security (-57 points compared with -54 points). Hence, the marked improvement achieved in the October could not be continued for the time being.
The improved expectations for both the current and future economic situation has obviously not yet impacted on consumers‘ assessment of inflation. As such, in January there was virtually no change either in the assessment of past inflation (+46 points compared with +43 points in October 2013) or in the expectations for future inflation (+53 compared with +54 points).
*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, EU-compatible consumer confidence index. The three new quarterly series begin from April 2007. With the publication dated 7.5.2013 the SECO switched 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 7.5.2013 under: http://www.seco.admin.ch/themen/00374/00453/index.html?lang=de).
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