Sunday April 21, 2024

Consumer confidence remains very weak in March

Published : 27 Mar 2024, 23:00

  DF Report
Pixabay File Photo.

The balance figure of the consumer confidence indicator stood at minus 9.4 in March, having been minus 9.5 in February and minus 9.1 in January, according to Statistics Finland.

One year ago in March, the consumer confidence indicator (CCI) received the value minus 10.8. The long-term average for the CCI is minus 2.4.

The data are based on the Consumer Confidence Survey, to which 1,229 persons resident in Finland responded between March 1 and March 18.

Views concerning one's own economy at present and expectations concerning Finland's economy in 12 months' time were very weak. Expectations concerning one's own economy were also subdued.

However, views concerning one’s own economy at present improved slightly from the previous month, while expectations regarding it weakened. Expectations concerning Finland’s economy remained unchanged.

The time was still regarded very unfavourable for buying durable goods. Intentions to spend money on consumption were very low, although intentions to buy a car were higher than before. Intentions to buy a dwelling continued to be very subdued.

Expectations concerning the general development of unemployment was fairly gloomy and the personal threat of unemployment was felt to be high.

Views on consumers' own financial situation remained on the average level. Saving possibilities in future were estimated to be slightly weaker than normal.

In March, consumer confidence was strongest in Greater Helsinki (CCI minus 7.0). Confidence was weakest elsewhere in Southern Finland and in Northern Finland ( minus 11.0). Among population groups, upper-level salaried employees were clearly most optimistic in March (minus 1.4). Unemployed persons had the gloomiest expectations concerning economic development (minus 15.2).

In March, consumers' estimates of their own economy at present improved slightly compared to February. By contrast, expectations about one’s own economy in 12 months weakened. Compared to one year ago, views on consumers’ own economy strengthened somewhat. Expectations concerning Finland’s economy in general have remained unchanged.

The estimate of the present state of consumers’ own economy and expectations regarding Finland's economy were very weak in March. Expectations concerning one's own economy were also subdued.

Twenty-nine per cent of consumers thought in March that their own economy was weaker than one year ago. Twenty-two per cent of consumers regarded their own economy stronger at the time of the survey than one year ago. As many as 68 per cent of consumers thought that Finland’s economy is now worse than one year ago, and only six per cent considered it to be better.

In March, nineteen per cent of consumers believed that Finland’s economic situation would improve in the coming twelve months, while 41 per cent of them thought that our country’s economy would deteriorate.

In all, 27 per cent of consumers believed in March that their own economy would improve and nineteen per cent of them feared it would worsen over the year.

Consumers' expectations concerning the development of the general unemployment situation in Finland continued to be fairly gloomy in March. Thirteen per cent of consumers expected that unemployment would decrease over the year and 57 per cent believed it would increase.

Employed consumers (wage and salary earners and self-employed persons) reckoned in March that their personal threat of unemployment or temporary lay-off had remained high. Four per cent of employed persons believed that their personal threat of unemployment had lessened and 25 per cent thought the risk had grown. On the other hand, 43 per cent of employed persons felt in March that they were not threatened by unemployment or temporary lay-off at all.

In March, consumers' estimates of inflation at the time of the survey and their expectations concerning price changes in one year's time continued to fall slightly. All in all, estimates of inflation were still fairly high.

Consumers estimated in March that consumer prices have risen by 5.8 per cent from last year's March and would go up by 4.0 per cent over the next year. Altogether 67 per cent of consumers thought that prices had gone up much or fairly much over the year. Clearly fewer, or 42 per cent of consumers expected prices to rise at least at the same rate in the coming months as well.

In March, the time was still regarded very poor for taking out a loan and also for saving. Just 12 per cent of consumers regarded the time favourable for taking out a loan and 36 per cent considered saving worthwhile.

However, plans to raise a loan were on the usual level in March. Sixteen per cent of consumers were planning to raise a loan within one year.

Consumers' assessments of their own financial situation were on the long-term average level in March. It was estimated that there would be slightly fewer saving possibilities in the coming months than usually.

In March, good one-half, or 56 per cent of consumers, had been able to lay aside some money and 68 per cent believed they would be able to do so during the next 12 months.

In March, the time was still considered very unfavourable for buying durable goods. Only 10 per cent of consumers thought the time was favourable for making expensive purchases.

Consumers’ intentions to spend money on durable goods during the next 12 months continued to be very scant in March.

However, the intentions to make purchases increased slightly compared to the previous month and one year ago. In March, twelve per cent of consumers estimated they would increase and 40 per cent that they would reduce their spending on durable goods over the next 12 months.

In March, there were slightly more plans than usual to buy a car over the next 12 months. Intentions to buy a dwelling remained faint: very few consumers had a new dwelling in mind. Intentions to renovate one's own dwelling also remained below their average level in March.

In March, fifteen per cent of consumers were either definitely or possibly going to buy a car during the next 12 months. Only ten per cent of consumers considered buying a dwelling or building a house. Sixteen per cent of consumers were planning to spend money on renovating their home during the next 12 months.