Consumer confidence up again

After correction for seasonal effects, consumer confidence in the Netherlands is higher in December 2005 than in November. This is the third increase in a row. Consumer confidence is now at its highest level for three and a half years. Consumers are also more optimistic about developments in unemployment, according to figures form Statistics Netherlands.

Opinions on economic climate improve substantially

Consumers’ opinions on the economic climate are considerably less negative than last month. Opinions on the economic situation in the last twelve months in particular have improved. But consumers are slightly more positive about the economic climate in the coming twelve months as well.

Willingness to buy up slightly

After correction for seasonal effects, willingness to buy is slightly less negative in December than in November. However, consumers’ willingness to buy remains low. Although consumers are more negative about their own financial situation in the last twelve months, they are less sombre about their finances in the next twelve months. They are also less negative about the purchase of durable goods such as furniture.

Consumers more positive about unemployment

Since July 2005 consumers have been increasingly positive about developments in unemployment. In December, about one third of consumers  expect unemployment to fall in the next twelve months. Six months ago, only 12 percent expected this.

Consumers end the year optimistically

In 2005, too, the pessimists have been in the majority, as they have been since 2001. At the beginning of 2005 there was a clear increase in consumer confidence, but in May it started to decline again. In the last quarter of the year consumers have become less and less negative, and this has resulted in the highest level of consumer confidence in three and a half years.