Economic Tendency Survey March 2018

Consumers less upbeat

The Economic Tendency Indicator fell for a fourth successive month in March from 109.4 to 108.4 but still points to much stronger sentiment than normal in the economy. The decrease was due to a further deterioration in consumer confidence and slightly weaker signals from the service sector.

The confidence indicator for the manufacturing industry did not change notably and continues to reflect a very strong situation. Firms’ view of their order books is historically positive, and relatively few are unhappy about excessive stocks. Production plans remain just above the historical average.

The confidence indicator for the building and civil engineering industry recovered from its fall in February and again points to a much stronger situation than normal. Firms’ view of their order books improved, and recruitment plans were revised up again after the sharp fall in February.

The confidence indicator for the retail trade was more or less unchanged. Sales expectations remain optimistic despite firms reporting weaker sales than normal in recent months.

The confidence indicator for the service sector fell due to weaker signals about how business has gone in recent months, but expectations for demand in the coming months are as optimistic as before.

The consumer confidence indicator fell for a fourth month, but still shows that consumers are slightly more positive than normal. All questions contributed to the decrease.

Changes to the consumer survey

Since November 2017, the two questions about expectations for housing prices are no longer form part of the consumer survey. Since January 2018, the questions about plans to buy a car, purchase a home and make home improvements in the next 12 months are included in the survey only every third month (January, April, July and October).