The mood among consumers has improved for the second month running. The consumer confidence index stood at -11 in August versus -14 in July. Confidence is back at the level of December 2009, after a gradual decline in the first half of 2010, but pessimists still outnumber the optimists.
Consumers obviously considered August a better month to buy expensive items than July. This component of consumer confidence improved from -14 to -5, but consumers’ opinions on their own financial situation hardly changed. On balance, willingness to buy improved by 2 points and stood at -8 in August, which is still low.
Sentiments about the economic climate in general were also less negative than in July. This component indicator of consumer confidence climbed 5 points to reach -14. Consumers’ opinions on the economic situation in the past 12 months and in the next 12 months both improved.
Consumers’ expectations about unemployment have improved. In August, 43 percent of consumers expected unemployment to rise in the next 12 months, as against 53 percent in July. One quarter anticipated a reduction in unemployment, versus 21 percent in July. Statistics Netherlands latest unemployment figures show a further decline in July.