Economic Tendency Survey September 2018

Strong rise in retail and service indicators

The Economic Tendency Indicator changed only marginally in September, edging up to 111.7 from 111.6 in August, and continues to reflect much stronger sentiment than normal in the Swedish economy.

Only the confidence indicator for the manufacturing industry declined in September, falling 4.5 points, due primarily to stocks of finished goods being considered slightly too high rather than slightly too low. The decrease in satisfaction with stock levels was confined mainly to consumer goods producers, however, and the indicator continues to point to a very strong situation in the industry.

The confidence indicator for the building and civil engineering industry did not change appreciably in September and remains above the historical average. Firms are as happy with their order books as before, and their recruitment plans again point to relatively strong employment growth.

The confidence indicator for the retail trade climbed for a second month, gaining 5 points in September, due partly to stronger signals about sales in recent months and partly to a greater share of firms reporting current stock levels as too low.

The confidence indicator for the service industry also climbed relatively strongly in September, from 101.3 to 106.0, its highest since December 2017. The improvement was broad-based, with all three questions and most segments making a positive contribution.

The Consumer Confidence Indicator climbed slightly further in September, improving for a fourth successive month. Among other things, consumers’ view of whether now is a good time to make major purchases was more positive.