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Economy in Brief

Consumer and Business Confidence in The Netherlands, France and Slovakia
by Louise Curley July 29, 2008

Consumer Confidence indicators were released today for France, the Netherlands and Slovakia. Business confidence indicators for the Netherlands and Slovakia were also released today. France's Composite Business Climate Indicator was released last week. Both consumers business people in the three countries have become increasingly pessimistic. Consumers have generally been more pessimistic than industrialists as can be seen in the three attached Charts which show consumer and business confidence measures for each country.

Consumer confidence in the Netherlands declined by 12 percentage points in July to -31% from -19% in June. The pessimists in the Netherlands now outweigh the optimists by 31%/ The optimists still exceed the pessimists among the producers, but the margin has been shrinking and now is only 2.4 percentage points.

Consumers are even more pessimistic in France where the percent balance between pessimists and optimists is 48%, up from 46% in June. France's Composite (synthetic) Business Confidence Indicator has fallen below its average level of 100. At 98 it is at the lowest level since April, 2005.

The percent balance between the pessimists and optimists in Slovakia has been increasing but the pessimists exceed the optimists by only 8.8% in contrast to the much bigger differences in France and the Netherlands. The excess of optimists over pessimist in industry has practically disappeared. It is only 0.7%, and is 15.6 percentage points below the excess of optimists in July, 2007.

CONSUMER AND BUSINESS CONFIDENCE  Jul 08 Jun  08  Jul 07  M/M chg  Y/Y  chg  2007 2006 2005
  Consumer Confidence (% balance) -31 -19 14 -12 -45 8 -1 -22
  Producers Confidence  (% balance) 2.4 5.3 7.6 -2.9 -5.2 7.8 6.8 0.6
  Household Confidence (% balance) -48 -46 -15 -2 -33 -21 -25 -28
   Composite (synthetic Bus Confidence Indicator (Average=100; Std Dev = 10)  98 101 109 -3.0 -10.1 109 106 100
  Consumer Confidence (% balance) -8.8 -6.4 2.3 -2.4 -11.1 -1.0 -9.1 -14.6
  Industry Confidence (% balance) 0.7 2.3 16.3 -1.6 -15.6 12.1 7.6 4.6
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