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Economy in Brief

Consumer in the Euro Area a Little Less Pessimistic in November
by Louise Curley   November 22, 2010

Eurostat's flash estimate of Consumer Confidence shows an improvement for November, although the pessimists still outweigh the optimists. After remaining steady at a balance of opinion of -11% for the past three months, the flash estimate points to an improvement of one and a half percentage points to a -9.5% balance for November.

Eurostat has been publishing a flash estimate one week before the release of the actual figure since January of this year and so far the indicator has been close to the mark. The first chart compares the flash estimates with the actual figures since the inception of the flash estimate. Though the time span is short, so far the flash estimates have been good indicators of the actual results.

The fact that the pessimists outweigh the optimists is not unusual. Over the course of the history of the confidence measure, from January, 1985 to date, the average is -11.9%, the maximum value, 3.0% , the minimum, -34%. At -9.5%, the current balance of opinion is a bit above average. The second chart shows the balance of opinion on consumer confidence in the Euro Area over its entire history, together with a line showing the average.

The confidence measure is based on the answers to four questions: prospects for the financial situation, the general economic situation, the employment situation and savings over the next 12 months.

EUROSTAT Nov 10 Oct 10 Sep 10 Aug 10  Jul 10 Jun 10 May 10 Apr 10 Mar 10 Feb 10 Jan 10 
Consumer Confidence (% Bal) -- -11.0 -11.0 -11.0 -14.0 -17.0 -18.0 -15.0 -17.0 -17.0 -16.0
Flash Estimate (% Bal) -9.5 -11.0 -11.2 -11.7 -14.1 -17.3 -17.5 -15.2 -17.2 -17.4 -15.8
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