Published: 26 April 2012
Consumers’ confidence in the economy gained some strength in April. The consumer confidence indicator stood at 10.4 in April, having been 8.0 in March and 8.3 in February. This April, confidence in the economy was at a lower level than one year earlier and also weaker than the long-term average. The data are based on Statistics Finland's Consumer Survey for which 1,475 persons resident in Finland were interviewed between 2 and 18 April.
Consumer confidence indicator (CCI)
Of the four components of the consumer confidence indicator, expectations concerning Finland’s economy and development of unemployment strengthened in April from the previous month. The estimate was still pessimistic with regard to development of unemployment, however. Consumers' expectations concerning their own economy remained almost unchanged in April compared to March. Views on households' saving possibilities in turn deteriorated from the previous month. Saving possibilities were still nevertheless assessed as better than the long-term average.
In April employed persons felt personally threatened by unemployment more or less to the same degree as in March. Consumers regarded the time fairly favourable for taking out a loan, but also for saving. In contrast, buying of durable goods was not considered worthwhile in April.
Consumers' own and Finland's economy
In April, 35 per cent of consumers believed that Finland’s economic situation would improve in the coming twelve months, while 25 per cent of them thought that the country’s economy would deteriorate. In March the corresponding proportions were 27 and 32 per cent and in last year's April 36 and 19 per cent.
In all, 24 per cent of consumers believed in April that their own economy would improve while 14 per cent of them feared it would worsen over the year. Twelve months earlier these proportions were 27 and 12 per cent.
Consumers' expectations concerning their own and Finland's economy in 12 months' time
Unemployment and inflation
Altogether 23 per cent of consumers thought in April that unemployment would decrease in Finland over the year, while 39 per cent of them believed it would increase. The corresponding proportions were 19 and 48 per cent in March and still fairly optimistic 35 and 23 per cent one year ago.
Thirteen per cent of employed persons believed in April that their personal threat of unemployment had lessened over the past few months, whereas 18 per cent thought it had grown. One year ago the same proportions were 18 and 11 per cent. In April, 46 per cent of employed persons thought the threat had remained unchanged and 22 per cent felt that they were not threatened by unemployment at all.
Consumers predicted in April that consumer prices would go up by 3.2 per cent over the next 12 months. In last year's April the predicted inflation rate was approximately the same, or 3.3 per cent. The long-term average for the predicted inflation rate is 2.2 per cent.
Saving and taking out a loan
Altogether 60 per cent of consumers regarded the time favourable for saving in April. One year earlier, 63 per cent of them thought so. In all, 64 per cent of households had been able to lay aside some money and 75 per cent believed they would be able to do so during the next 12 months. Households mostly save for a rainy day. The most popular investment targets were fixed-term or investment accounts, followed by investment funds and insurances.
In April, 61 per cent of consumers regarded the time good for raising a loan. One year earlier, the corresponding proportion was the same. In April, 12 per cent of households were planning to take out a loan within one year. The most popular use of loans was a dwelling in a housing corporation.
Buying of durable goods
In April, 36 per cent of consumers thought the time was favourable for buying durable goods. Twelve months ago the respective proportion was higher, or 45 per cent. Nevertheless, many households were planning in April to spend money on, for instance, travelling or home furnishings during the next six months. Fifteen 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 April last year, the respective proportions were 17 and 9 per cent.
Consumers' views of the economy
|Average 10/1995-||Max. 10/1995-||Min. 10/1995-||04/2011||03/2012||04/2012||Outlook|
|A1 Consumer confidence indicator, CCI = (B2+B4+B7+D2)/4||12,9||22,9||-6,5||17,8||8,0||10,4||-|
|B2 Own economy in 12 months' time (balance)||8,9||14,1||2,3||8,2||5,3||6,5||-|
|B4 Finland's economy in 12 months' time (balance)||4,5||25,3||-27,1||8,3||-4,4||3,8||+/-|
|B6 Inflation in 12 months' time (per cent)||2,2||4,6||0,6||3,3||3,1||3,2|
|B7 Unemployment in Finland in 12 months' time (balance)||0,4||27,6||-51,1||5,9||-16,5||-9,0||-|
|B8 Own threat of unemployment now (balance)||0,9||7,6||-18,8||6,0||-2,8||-1,7||-|
|C1 Favourability of time for purchasing durables (balance)||20,4||41,8||-14,2||20,1||9,0||3,1||--|
|C2 Favourability of time for saving (balance)||11,7||36,8||-19,6||16,7||14,3||13,6||+/-|
|C3 Favourability of time for raising a loan (balance)||17,5||42,0||-47,1||13,3||11,4||16,0||+/-|
|D2 Household's saving possibilities in the next 12 months (balance)||37,9||52,2||10,9||49,0||47,7||40,6||+/-|
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 (positive) 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 population and sample of the Consumer Survey
The population of the Consumer Survey comprises 4.4 million persons aged 15 to 84 and 2.6 million households in Finland. The population was extended to persons aged 75 to 84 starting from January 2012. The gross sample size of the Survey is monthly 2,350 persons (previously 2,200 persons).
In April, the non-response rate of the Survey was 37.2 per cent. The non-response rate includes those who refused from the survey or were otherwise prevented from participating as well as those who could not be contacted.
The extension of the population, that is, responses from persons aged 75 to 84, is estimated to have weakened the value of the consumer confidence indicator by one unit starting from January 2012.
The (seasonally adjusted) Consumer Survey results for all EU countries are 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 2012, April. Statistics Finland
Inquiries: Pertti Kangassalo 09 1734 3598, Tara Junes 09 1734 3503, firstname.lastname@example.org
Director in charge: Riitta Harala
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