Economic Tendency Survey March 2020
Consumer indicator down sharply in March
The vast majority of firms responded to the survey at the beginning of the collection period with no knowledge of recent weeks’ effects from the coronavirus COVID-19. Had a majority of firms responded to the survey at the end of the collection period instead, the results would probably have been more negative. The picture is slightly different with the consumer survey, as responses are evenly distributed over the collection period.
The Economic Tendency Indicator fell more than 6 points from 98.7 in February to 92.4 in March. This is its lowest level since May 2013 and the sentiment in the Swedish economy is weak. The decline is mainly explained by gloomy signals from the service sector and households.
The confidence indicator for the manufacturing industry dropped almost 4 points to 100.7 and points to a normal situation. The decrease was a result of firms being more negative about their production plans.
The confidence indicator for the building and civil engineering industry fell just over 1 point and is in line with the historical average. The fall was due mainly to firms’ employment plans for the next three months.
The confidence indicator for the retail trade dropped slightly more than 3 points to just below 105, but it remains the sector signalling the strongest situation. The decrease was chiefly due to weaker expectations for sales volumes in the coming months.
The confidence indicator for the service sector fell furthest in March and points to very weak sentiment. Firms’ expectations for demand in the coming months contributed most to the decline.
The consumer confidence indicator also fell sharply in March and is at its lowest since December 2012. The decrease was mainly a result of consumers being more negative about their current personal finances.