In December 2006, consumer confidence rose marginally compared to the previous month. After a minor setback in November, confidence has returned to the level of September and October.
Consumers’ opinions about the economic climate in general remain positive. In December, opinions on the economic climate in the past twelve months improved considerably and reached the highest level in six years. Consumers remained optimistic about economic developments in the twelve months to come.
Willingness to buy improved slightly. Consumers were considerably more positive about their own financial situation in the next twelve months. Their opinions about their financial situation and about the question, whether it is the right time to buy durable goods, hardly changed.
In the course of 2006, consumer confidence rose sharply, especially in the first six months. In July, optimists outnumbered pessimists for the first time in four-and-a-half years. After the summer, the growth slowed down a bit. The improvement of consumer confidence in 2006 was largely due to a more positive opinion on the economic climate in general. Willingness to buy improved too, but not so much.
Consumer confidence reached a relatively high level. In December, the index stood at 8, which means optimists outnumber pessimists by 8 percent. On average, the majority of the consumers were pessimistic in the last twenty years. The long-term average stands at -3.
In 2006, producer confidence also improved. Information about similarities and differences between consumer and producer confidence can be accessed in the article “Consumer confidence versus producer confidence”, published on the 9th of November 2006.
Consumer confidence, seasonally adjusted