Consumer confidence shows a marginal decline relative to October. The slight deterioration seen this month is due to a sharp downturn in citizens’ optimism about the future of the Greek economy. Generally speaking, the movement of the relevant index since the beginning of the current year leads to the conclusion that the recovery observed in January 2013 lacks sufficient momentum to further improve consumer sentiment.
The Consumer Climate Index – CCI (56.7) declined by 1.8 points relative to the previous month. And although the Current Economic Conditions Index – CECI (44.4) showed a marked increase (+3.4 points) compared to October, the Consumer Expectations Index – CEI (65) in contrast fell sharply (-5.2 points).
The marginal decrease in the general index this month, in combination with its sluggishness throughout 2013, indicate that the recovery in consumer confidence since the beginning of the year lacks the strength that is needed to restore the index to the levels recorded prior to the signing of the Memorandum. At the same time, assessments of current economic conditions (CECI) have stabilized in the last three months (9-11/2013) at over 40 points.
Consumer expectations (CEI) reveal an inability to remain at levels over 70 points. Despite the fact that they reached and even surpassed the aforesaid level five times (1/2013, 3/2013, 5/2013, 6/2013 and 10/2013), they were not able on any of these occasions to stabilize above that level.
Propensity to buy (68.5, +5.4 points relative to October) reverted to the levels of September. Nearly 3 in 10 (28%) respondents believe that the current period is not appropriate for major purchases of household equipment (furniture, electrical appliances, etc.). Assessments of personal financial situation (20.2) remained for the third straight month close to 20 points, registering a slight increase (+1.3 points) relative to the previous month. In the last four months (8/2013-11/2013) the index has gained almost 5 points in total.
Some 82% of citizens report that their personal financial situation has deteriorated during the past 12 months. Expectations of personal financial situation (48.1) rose by 2.1 points in one month. Despite the marginal increase in the index, the optimism of citizens regarding their personal financial outlook remains at extremely low levels, with just 7% anticipating an improvement during the coming 12 months.
Optimism about the future of the economy also declined markedly. More specifically, expectations for the economy (54.1) decreased by 6.8 points relative to October, whilst the decline in expectations for the economy over the next five years (92.7) was even sharper (-11 points). Some 16% (-2% relative to October) foresee a recovery of the economy during the coming 12 months and 32% (-8% relative to October) expect such a recovery over the next five years.
A comparison of the mean values of the component indices that make up the consumer confidence index shows that in 2013, citizens’ assessments and expectations with regard to their personal financial situation are at very low levels relative to those relating to the future of the economy. Assessments of personal financial situation (16.9) show the lowest average of all the indices, followed by expectations of personal financial situation (47). When the frame of reference is expanded from personal to general financial situation, the optimism expressed about the future is significantly greater. Expectations for the economy register an average of 59.2, whilst expectations for the economy over the next five years show the highest mean value (101.6).
Expectations for unemployment deteriorated marginally. Some 3 in 4 (75%, +2% relative to October) foresee a rise in unemployment in the next 12 months. Expectations for saving showed a slight improvement after three months of continuous decline. Nevertheless, only 7% hope they will be able to save some amount of money in the year ahead. Expectations about the course of prices rose for the second successive month, with 12% of respondents (+3% relative to October) anticipating a decrease in prices in the year ahead.