Consumer Confidence Rebounds in January

Consumer confidence in Spain rose significantly in January after December’s slight decline, due to both the improved perception of the current economic situation and the expectations of improvement in the short-term.

The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) released on Monday by the Center for Sociological Research (CIS) stood at 55.7 points, 11.4 more than a month earlier, but 12.6 points less than in the same month of 2012. Despite the improvement, the indicator is still well below the 100 points which marks the boundary between a favorable and optimistic view, and a negative and pessimistic one.

According to the survey the CIS used as the basis of this indicator, the majority of the Spanish (53.5%) believe that their current economic situation is worse than six months ago, and highlighted the main causes as being the decline in family income, continued rising prices and the unemployment situation of one or more members of their household.

44.3% said they could just make ends meet, while 14.1% had to dip into family savings to cover all expenses and 6.3% were forced to go into debt. Only 4.4% of respondents said that their situation has improved, indicating the reason for this as being a family member gaining employment, and therefore increasing the household income.

Diario Sur reported that those questioned have a poorer perception of the situation in their own country, since 75.2% believe that the Spanish economy has worsened in the last six months. One in four people have one or two people around them who are unemployed and looking for work. The majority (77.8%) believe that the chances of finding a job have worsened, while 26.5% consider that their employment options will improve in the next six months.

In general terms, 44.8% believe that the domestic economy will be the same in six months, compared to 33.2% who think it will get worse and 15.2% who expect it to improve.

Regarding the economy in general, a higher proportion of those surveyed (54.8%) consider that it will get worse, compared with 23.1% who believe it will be better in six months, while 16.6% think it will be the same. 49.5% believe that prices will continue to rise and inflation will increase, while a similar percentage believe that interest rates will remain the same.

With regard to housing, the majority (52.9%) still believe that prices will drop because purchasing power has declined and because there is much on offer. In line with this perception, 96.8% of those surveyed ruled out the possibility of purchasing a home over the next year.