After adjustment for seasonal effects, consumer confidence has fallen by 4 points to -32 in January 2004. This means that the hesitant recovery which set in at the end of 2003 has not continued into January. According to Statistics Netherlands’ consumer confidence survey, the slight fall was caused by both a lower willingness to buy and a less favourable opinions on the economic climate.
Consumers less willing to buy
Willingness to buy has decreased in January, after correction for seasonal effects. This component is based on consumers’ opinions of the financial situation of their own household and on whether they think it is a good time to buy expensive durable goods. Consumers are less positive on all fronts: they are especially negative about spending money on expensive durable goods and the financial situation of their own household in the coming twelve months.
Opinions on economic climate more negative
Consumers are also more negative about the economic climate in January than they were in December. This is caused completely by their opinions on the economic situation in the last twelve months; they are slightly more positive than last month about the economic situation in the coming twelve months.
Consumer confidence higher than last January
For the first time since October 2000, consumer confidence is higher than twelve months previously. After October 2000 the year-on-year change dropped quite quickly, hitting a low point in October 2001 when consumer confidence was 33 points lower than twelve months previously. After that the year-on-year change remained very low. Since March 2003, the negative difference with twelve months previously has become smaller.
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