Austria: Consumers remain pessimistic as first quarter ends
Sentiment among consumers rose from minus 2 in February to minus 1 in March. Consequently, the consumer confidence index moved closer to the neutral zero-point mark that separates optimism from pessimism; however, in the opening quarter of this year, pessimism increased among consumers compared to the prior quarter. This suggests that private consumption was likely downbeat in the first quarter.
The improvement in the headline figure, however, reflected stable consumer views on the financial situation of households in the next 12 months as well as still rosy views on the general economic climate in Austria, both in the past 12 months and the next 12 months. Moreover, consumers were also less pessimistic about price trends. This reflects a noticeable easing in harmonized consumer price inflation in the first three months of the year. Tied to the still robust outlook on the Austria economy, consumers retained a positive view on labor market developments and consider the current time to be well-suited to purchase big ticket items. On the other hand, consumers viewed the current financial situation of households slightly less favorably and downgraded their view on the financial situation of households over the past 12 months to pessimistic.