Consumer sentiment remains unchanged
Bern, 08.05.2014 - Consumer sentiment in Switzerland remained almost unchanged between January and April 2014*. The overall index remained static at +1 in April compared with January (+2 points) but as such is still above its long-term average (-9 points). In April households were slightly more cautious in their assessment of the future general economic development. At the same time however, they were more optimistic about the further development of unemployment over the next few months.
Of the four sub-indices which are included in the calculation of the consumer sentiment index**, two showed a contrasting trend between January and April. In April households were less optimistic in their expectations regarding the future economic development (+8 points) than in January (+18 points). However, it should be noted that this sub index remains clearly above its historic average of -10 points. Conversely, the expectations for the development of unemployment over the next twelve months were revised downwards (+30 in April as against +40 in January***). There has been no significant change between April (+1 point) and January (+4 points) in the assessment by domestic households of their financial situation over the next twelve months. The same applies for the expectations of the savings possibilities (unchanged at +25 points).
Two of the other sub-indices in the survey which are not included in the calculation of the overall index also point to a slightly more cautious assessment on the part of householders. They were less positive about economic development over the last twelve months (+5 in April compared with +12 in January) and their expectations regarding the timing of larger purchases were less favourable (+1 point in April as against +8 in January). By contrast, in April they were more optimistic about job security than in January (-47 versus -57 points in January), a slight improvement over the historic average for this individual question (-55 points).
The other sub-indices in the survey suggest that householder sentiment remains generally stable: the assessment of their financial situation over recent months remained virtually unchanged (-5 points, compared with -8 points in -January), as did their assessment of the current savings possibilities (+44 in April, compared with +47 points in January).
The expectations for inflation also remained relatively stable, with virtually no change in the assessment of inflation over the past twelve months (+45 points in April, as against +46 in January). The expectations for future inflation (over the next twelve months) were revised slightly downwards (+49 points in April, compared with +53 in January).
* 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).
*** A fall in this subindex reflects an expected decrease in the number of unemployed persons.
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