Consumers still rather downbeat

Bern, 04.02.2016 - In January 2016*, Swiss consumer sentiment (index value -14 points) has remained below the long-term average (-9 points). Although confidence in the future trend on the labour market increased slightly, the level is still relatively low. Expectations over price trends have again been revised downwards.

Of the four questions used to calculate the consumer sentiment index**,  it was the unemployment trend for the next twelve months, in particular, that painted a less bleak picture than in October (+68 points in January against +74 points in October). Nevertheless, the corresponding subindex is still well above its long-term average (+50 points), indicating that the prospects for the labour market are still being seen as rather gloomy. Expectations with regard to future economic prospects remain unchanged at -16 points, below the long-term average of -10 points. There were only minimal changes in the anticipated development of the financial situation of domestic households (+1 point as against -4 points in October) and in the savings possibilities over the next twelve months (+28 points as against +23 points in October).

The assessment of the development of the economy over the past twelve months saw no major changes between October (-30 points) and January (-35 points) (the multiyear average for this subquestion is -22 points). Job security is also being viewed rather poorly (-82 points as against -85 points in October, with the historical average at -55 points). However, households assessed their financial situation over the past twelve months more favourably than they had in October (-5 points as against -10 points). More households also believe that now would be a good time to make major purchases, with the relevant sub-index climbing from -5 to +3 points.

Households' views on past and, especially, future price trends were revised downwards. The assessment of price trends over the past twelve months worsened from +11 points in October to -4 points in January, nearly at a record low. The lowest point of -6 for this sub-index was reached in October 2011. The index that measures expected price trends over the next twelve months also lost ground, falling from +36 points in October to +16 in January.

*In January, April, July and October, approximately 1,200 households selected at random are questioned at the re-quest of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) with regard to their personal assessment of the economic situation, their own financial situation, price trends, job security, etc. The survey is conducted by the market research institute DemoScope.

**Assessment of the future economic prospects, the future development of unemployment, the anticipated devel-opment of the financial situation of domestic households, the savings possibilities over the next twelve months.


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Last modification 20.03.2019

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