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Economy in Brief

Some Consumer Surveys Are Hinting At A Rise In Propensity To Consume
by Louise Curley  March 27, 2012

A number of surveys relating to consumer confidence were released today. Consumers in Finland, France and Germany in Europe and in Korea in Asia showed some signs of increasing their propensities to consume in March. The latest data for the Swiss UBS consumption indicator is February and the indication has declined for the second month.

From Finland there was a survey of consumer buying intentions Over the next 6 months, the Finnish Consumer is more likely to buy& house furnishing, sports equipment, non car vehicles and trips both around Finland and abroad than in to spend money on repairing a house or buying a car or appliances.

In France, INSEE's Survey of Consumer Confidence showed the largest month-to-month increase in its household confidence indicator since May 2007, as can be seen in the first chart.

In Germany, the GfK survey of the consumer climate showed a one point improvement in March largely due to a perceived improvement in the economic situation. More German consumers saw their incomes declining than increasing in March and were reluctant to increase their spending. GfK estimates April will show a one point decline in their measure of the consumer climate. The GfK findings are somewhat at odds with the IFO data released yesterday that showed a sharp jump -5.9-percentage points in the percent balance on the business climate in Retail Trade.

In Korea, the Composite Sentiment Indicator increased to 101 from 100 in February, just a bit better than its neutral value of 100.

France INSEE Apr'12 Mar'12 Feb'12 Jan'12
Germany GfK 5.9 6.0 5.9  
Switzerland UBS Consumption Indicator   N/A .872 .926
Korea Composite Consumer Sentiment Indicator   101 100  
Finland Propensity to Consume in 6 Months (%)
House Repair   36.2 36.8  
Furnishings   39.9 39.4  
Vacation Residence   2.3 2.4  
Electronics   31.3 33.1  
Appliances   18.4 18.5  
Sports Equipment   21.2 18.2  
Non Car Vehicle   15.0 11.4  
Trip in Finland   59.0 55.6  
Trip Abroad   49.9 49.3  
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