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Economy in Brief

Measures Of Business And Consumer Sentiment In France, Italy, And The Netherlands
by Louise Curley November 25. 2008

Five indicators of business and consumersentiment were released today -- business and consumer sentiment in the Netherlands, business sentiment in France and consumer sentiment in Italy and Germany.

As the world financial crisis has spread and deepened, it is no surprise that global business sentiment continues to deteriorate. The deterioration in France and the Netherlands can be seen in the first chart. From a peak of 111 in April, 2007. the French synthetic index of business confidence fell to 80 in November. This is 2 standard deviations below its mean of 100 and is the lowest value since May 1993 when the index reached 74. Business sentiment in the Netherlands, which is measured in percent balances, took a similar fall. From an excess of optimists of 9.5% in January 2008, there is in November an excess of pessimists of 9.1%. This is the highest excess of pessimists since June of 2003.

Consumer sentiment in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands has shown a similar deterioration over the past year or so as shown in the second chart. There has, however, been an improvement in German consumer sentiment in the past two months and is forecast to rise further in December. It is, however still at a low level -- the excess of optimists over pessimists being 1.7 in October, 1.9% in November and 2.0% in December.

CONFIDENCE MEASURES   Nov 08 Oct   08  Nov  07  M/M   chg Y/Y  chg  2007 2006 2005
France (Synthetic Index Mean=100, Std Dev=100) - - - - - - - -
  Business Confidence  80 87 110 -7-8* -27.3* 109 107 100
The Netherlands (% Balance) - - - - - - - -
Consumer Confidence -29 -27 -3 -2 -26 8 -1 -22
Business Confidence -9.1 -6.1 8.7 -3.0 -17.7 7.8 6.8 0.6
Italy (1980=100) - - - - - - - -
Consumer Confidence 100.4 102.2 107.5 -1.7* -6.6* 108.5 108.8 104.2
Germany (% Balance - - - - - - - -
GfK Consumer Confidence 1.9 1.7 4.2 2.0 -2.3 6.2 7.0 3.9
* Percent change -
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