Published: 28 March 2011
Consumers’ confidence in the economy weakened slightly in March. The consumer confidence indicator stood at 17.7 in March, having been 20.0 in February and 16.6 in January. However, consumers' confidence in the economy was stronger in March than one year ago and when compared with the long-term average. The data are based on Statistics Finland’s Consumer Survey, for which 1,472 people resident in Finland were interviewed between 1 and 18 March.
Consumer confidence indicator
Of the four components of the consumer confidence indicator, expectations concerning Finland’s economy and development of unemployment weakened in March from the previous month. In contrast, consumers' views on their own economy and saving possibilities remained unchanged and very bright as concerns saving. In March consumers thought inflation would accelerate and considered the time favourable for saving at the expense of buying durable goods and taking out a loan.
In March, 38 per cent of consumers believed that Finland’s economic situation would improve in the coming twelve months, while 18 per cent of them thought that the country’s economy would deteriorate. The corresponding proportions were 43 and 16 per cent in February and 56 and 12 per cent one year ago. In all, 26 per cent of consumers believed in March that their own economy would improve and 11 per cent of them feared it would worsen over the year.
Consumers' expectations concerning their own and Finland's economy in 12 months' time
Altogether 33 per cent of consumers thought in March that unemployment would decrease in Finland over the next year, while 29 per cent of them believed it would increase. In February the respective proportions were 37 and 25 per cent and twelve months ago gloomy at 20 and 49 per cent.
In March, 16 per cent of employed persons believed that their personal threat of unemployment had lessened over the past few months, whereas 11 per cent thought it had grown. Twelve months previously, these proportions were also gloomy at 13 and 21 per cent. In March, 44 per cent of employed persons thought the threat of unemployment had remained unchanged and 28 per cent felt that they were not threatened by unemployment at all.
Consumers predicted in March that consumer prices would go up by 3.3 per cent over the next 12 months. In March last year the predicted inflation rate was 2.0 per cent, and its long-term average is 2.2 per cent.
Altogether 64 per cent of consumers considered saving worthwhile in March. One year earlier, 57 per cent of them thought so. Sixty-six per cent of households had been able to lay aside some money and as many as 81 per cent believed they would be able to do so during the next 12 months.
In March, 60 per cent of consumers regarded the time good for raising a loan. In February and one year previously the corresponding proportion was 65 per cent. In March, 14 per cent of households were planning to take out a loan within one year.
In March, 41 per cent of consumers thought the time was favourable for buying durable goods. One month ago the respective proportion was 45 per cent and one year ago 53 per cent. Nevertheless, many households were planning in March to spend money on, for instance, travelling or purchasing of hobby equipment during the next six months. Seventeen per cent of households were fairly or very certain to buy a car and eight per cent a dwelling during the next 12 months. In last year’s March the corresponding proportions were 16 and seven per cent.
Consumers' views of the economy
|Average 10/1995-||Max. 10/1995-||Min. 10/1995-||03/2010||02/2011||03/2011||Outlook|
|A1 Consumer confidence indicator, CCI = (B2+B4+B7+D2)/4||13,3||22,9||-6,5||15,4||20,0||17,7||+|
|B2 Own economy in 12 months' time (balance)||9,1||14,1||2,3||10,1||8,5||9,0||+/-|
|D2 Household's saving possibilities in the next 12 months (balance)||37,4||52,2||10,9||46,4||52,2||52,0||++|
|B4 Finland's economy in 12 months' time (balance)||5,4||25,3||-27,1||22,0||13,1||9,0||+|
|B7 Unemployment in Finland in 12 months' time (balance)||1,4||27,6||-51,1||-17,0||6,1||0,8||+/-|
|B8 Own threat of unemployment now (balance)||0,9||7,6||-18,8||-4,3||6,3||5,7||+|
|B6 Inflation in 12 months' time (per cent)||2,1||4,6||0,6||2,0||3,2||3,3|
|C1 Favourability of time for buying durable goods (balance)||21,2||41,8||-14,2||30,5||18,6||11,9||-|
|C2 Favourability of time for saving (balance)||11,3||36,8||-19,6||10,5||19,3||18,8||+|
|C3 Favourability of time for raising a loan (balance)||18,5||42,0||-47,1||21,2||19,0||12,4||-|
The balance figures are obtained by deducting the weighted proportion of negative answers from that of positive answers. The consumer confidence indicator is the average of the balance figures for the CCI components. The balance figures and the confidence indicator can range between -100 and 100 - the higher the balance figure, the brighter the view on the economy.
Explanations for Outlook column: ++ Outlook is very good, + Outlook is good, +/- Outlook is neutral, - Outlook is poor,-- Outlook is very poor. Deviation of balance from average has been compared to standard deviation.
The (seasonally adjusted) Consumer Survey results for all EU countries will be later released on the European Commission website: European Commission, DG ECFIN, Business and Consumer Survey Results; http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/db_indicators/surveys/index_en.htm
Source: Consumer Survey 2011, March. Statistics Finland
Inquiries: Pertti Kangassalo (09) 1734 3598, Pellervo Marja-aho (09) 1734 3349, email@example.com
Director in charge: Ari Tyrkkö
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