Netherlands: Consumer confidence reaches highest level in over three years
March 20, 2014
The seasonally-adjusted consumer confidence indicator produced by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) increased from minus 10 points in February to minus 7 points in March. Consumer confidence has been on an upward trend since the middle of last year and March's print marked the highest reading since February 2011. However, the index is still below the 0-point threshold, which indicates that consumers are pessimistic. According to the CBS, this month's improvement was driven by consumers' more positive assessment of the general economic climate. Their outlook in terms of the climate in the coming 12 months improved most notably, reaching the highest point in seven years. Consumers' opinions regarding their future financial situation improved only moderately, while their willingness to buy durable goods fell slightly in March. The steady improvements in confidence that have been registered since last summer paint a positive picture for private consumption in the near term, although not necessarily in terms of larger ticket items. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists see private consumption expanding 0.9% in 2014, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month's estimate. In 2015, the panel expects private consumption to rise 0.4%.
Author: Carl Kelly, Economist