Published: 27 February 2012
The consumer confidence indicator stood at 8.3 in February, having been 3.4 in January and 0.4 in December. In February consumers’ confidence in the economy was still weaker than the long-term average. The long-term average for the confidence indicator is 13.0. One year ago in February the consumer confidence indicator received the value 20.0. The data are based on Statistics Finland’s Consumer Survey, for which 1,521 people resident in Finland were interviewed between 1 and 17 February.
Consumer confidence indicator (CCI)
Of the four components of the consumer confidence indicator, expectations concerning own saving possibilities and general economic development, i.e. Finland's economy and unemployment, improved in February compared with the month before. Views on Finland’s economy and especially on unemployment still remained negative. In February, consumers' confidence in their economy weakened slightly and was thus still more cautious than the long-term average.
In February, employed consumers also felt some personal threat of unemployment. In addition, consumers considered saving in February more worthwhile than purchasing of durable goods or raising a loan.
Own and Finland's economy
In February, 29 per cent of consumers believed that Finland’s economic situation would improve in the coming twelve months, while 30 per cent of them thought that the country’s economy would deteriorate. In January, the corresponding proportions were 21 and 42 per cent and in last year's February optimistic 43 and 16 per cent.
In all, 24 per cent of consumers believed in February that their own economy would improve while 15 per cent of them feared it would worsen over the year. One year ago the respective proportions were 27 and 13 per cent.
Consumers' expectations concerning their own and Finland's economy in 12 months' time
Unemployment and inflation
Altogether 18 per cent of consumers thought in February that unemployment would decrease in Finland over the year, while 49 per cent of them believed it would increase. The corresponding proportions were 14 and 56 per cent one month ago and 38 and 25 per cent one year ago.
In February, 12 per cent of employed persons reckoned that their personal threat of unemployment had decreased over the past few months but more, or 15 per cent, of them thought it had grown. Twelve months ago these proportions were 20 and 13 per cent. In February, 51 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 February that consumer prices would go up by 2.9 per cent over the next 12 months. The long-term predicted average inflation rate is 2.2 per cent.
Saving and borrowing
Saving was considered worthwhile by 63 per cent of consumers in February. In all, 69 per cent of households had been able to lay aside some money and 80 per cent believed they would be able to do so during the next 12 months.
In February, 54 per cent of consumers regarded the time good for raising a loan. Twelve months ago the respective proportion was 65 per cent. Slightly fewer households than average, or 12 per cent of them, were planning in February to raise a loan within one year.
Purchase of durables
In February, 42 per cent of consumers thought the time was favourable for buying durable goods. Consumption intentions were still more moderate than usual in February, but many households had plans to spend money on, for instance, home repairs or travel during the next six months. Seventeen per cent of households were fairly or very certain to buy a car and more households than average, that is, nine per cent, to buy a dwelling during the next 12 months. Last year in February the corresponding proportions were 18 and 9 per cent.
Consumers' views of the economy
|Average 10/1995-||Max. 10/1995-||Min. 10/1995-||02/2011||01/2012||02/2012||Outlook|
|A1 Consumer confidence indicator, CCI = (B2+B4+B7+D2)/4||13,0||22,9||-6,5||20,0||3,4||8,3||-|
|B2 Own economy in 12 months' time (balance)||8,9||14,1||2,3||8,5||6,1||5,8||--|
|B4 Finland's economy in 12 months' time (balance)||4,5||25,3||-27,1||13,1||-13,0||-2,2||-|
|B6 Inflation in 12 months' time (per cent)||2,2||4,6||0,6||3,2||3,1||2,9|
|B7 Unemployment in Finland in 12 months' time (balance)||0,6||27,6||-51,1||6,1||-23,5||-17,6||--|
|B8 Own threat of unemployment now (balance)||1,0||7,6||-18,8||6,3||0,9||0,2||+/-|
|C1 Favourability of time for purchasing durables (balance)||20,5||41,8||-14,2||18,6||17,6||11,8||-|
|C2 Favourability of time for saving (balance)||11,6||36,8||-19,6||19,3||15,1||17,0||+|
|C3 Favourability of time for raising a loan (balance)||17,5||42,0||-47,1||19,0||2,5||7,2||-|
|D2 Household's saving possibilities in the next 12 months (balance)||37,9||52,2||10,9||52,2||44,0||47,1||+|
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.
Population and sample of the 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 February, the non-response rate of the Survey was 35.3 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, February. Statistics Finland
Inquiries: Pertti Kangassalo 09 1734 3598, Tara Junes 09 1734 3503, email@example.com
Director in charge: Riitta Harala
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