Modest consumption growth due to lower natural gas consumption
Household consumption barely increased in the first months of 2011. Spending on goods and services was 0.3 percent higher in February than twelve months previously. In January, consumption grew by 0.2 percent compared to January 2010. Due to the relatively mild weather conditions, natural gas consumption was considerably lower than one year ago, which curbed consumption growth by approximately 1 percentage point in January and February. Consumption figures were adjusted for price changes and differences in the shopping-day pattern.
Household spending on durable consumer goods increased by 3.6 percent in February. Consumers spent considerably more on new cars, consumer electronics and shoes. Spending on furniture and other home furnishing articles, on the other hand, was lower than twelve months previously. Consumer spending on food, drinks and tobacco grew by 0.4 percent, whereas spending on services was 0.8 percent up on one year previously.
Household spending has continually been higher than twelve months previously for a year now, but the growth remains modest. The Household Consumption Radar shows that - after a gradual improvement during 2010 - conditions for consumption growth have hardly changed in recent months.
Domestic household consumption (volume, adjusted for shopping-days)
More figures can be found in dossier Business cycle.