Consumer confidence stable

After correction for seasonal effects, consumer confidence in the Netherlands is -19 in August 2004. This is almost the same as in July. This is the highest level for consumer confidence in the last two years. Consumers are slightly more positive about the economic situation than last month. Willingness to buy is almost unchanged compared with July. Generally speaking consumers are now more positive about the next twelve months but remain sombre about the past, according to Statistics Netherlands’ consumer confidence survey.

More positive opinions on economic climate

This month consumers are again less negative than in July about the economic climate after corrections for seasonal effects. Opinions on the economic climate in the coming twelve months in particular have improved. On balance there are now more optimists than pessimists as far as the future of the economy is concerned.

Willingness to buy unchanged

After correction for seasonal effects willingness to buy is -17 in August, 1 point up on July. Willingness to buy is based on consumers’ opinions on their own financial situation and on whether they think it is a good time to buy expensive durable goods. Consumers are more positive with respect to their own financial circumstances in the coming twelve months, but less positive than in July about their circumstances in the last twelve months. They have hardly changed their opinions on whether it is a good time to buy expensive items.

Consumers less sombre about unemployment

From a historical perspective, consumer confidence it still low, but it is higher than last year. It has been recovering with stops and starts since the low point in July 2003. Remarkably though, consumers are clearly less pessimistic about the labour market situation in the coming twelve months. In May 72 percent expected unemployment to increase; this had dropped to 51 percent in August.

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