Economic Tendency Survey April 2019
Consumers more positive about their finances
The Economic Tendency Indicator climbed 0.8 points to 102.7 in April, thanks to stronger signals from retailers and manufacturers and to consumers being less pessimistic about their personal finances.
The confidence indicator for the manufacturing industry rose marginally in April and points to a stronger situation than normal in the industry as a whole. The strongest signals are from producers of consumer goods, and the indicator for capital goods producers is also well above the historical average, but producers of intermediate goods are signalling a slightly weaker situation than normal.
The confidence indicator for the building and civil engineering industry did not change appreciably in April and remains above the historical average. Firms are relatively happy with their current order books, which is what is propping up the indicator, while their expectations are pessimistic, especially when it comes to the market outlook over the next year.
The confidence indicator for the retail trade gained 4.4 points and is now back above the historical average. Both specialist retailers and the motor trade contributed to the increase, while food retailers reported a largely unchanged situation. The greatest improvement came from firms being less negative about their stocks.
The confidence indicator for the service sector fell back marginally after its big jump in March and continues to point to a slightly weaker situation than normal. Firms’ view of their current business volumes is well above the historical average, however, and employment is reported to have increased in recent months.
The consumer confidence indicator climbed 1.8 points in April, due mainly to consumers being more upbeat about their personal finances. The micro index, which summarises consumers’ view of their personal finances, climbed sharply in April to around the normal level. The macro index, which reflects consumers’ view of the economy as a whole, is still well below the historical average.