IT: Business and Consumer Confidence

Fri Jun 26 03:00:00 CDT 2015

Consensus Actual Previous Revised
Cons. Conf. Level 106.0 109.5 105.7 106.0
Bus. Conf. Level 102.5 104.3 102.0 101.8
Mfg. Conf. Level 103.8 103.9 103.5 103.4

Overall business confidence improved quite sharply this month, registering a 2.5 point gain from a marginally softer revised May outturn to reach a multi-year high of 104.3.

Consumers were a good deal more optimistic, the confidence index here rising 3.5 points to 109.5. Outside of March, this was its best reading since the end of the Great Recession. Moreover, within the household survey results the buying intentions gauge climbed a handy 9 points to minus 54, its strongest mark so far in 2015.

Amongst the major production sectors sentiment in manufacturing was up 0.5 points at 103.9, its second highest reading since May 2011 while services posted a much larger 4.9 point bounce to 109.0. Retail added 2 points to 105.9 but it was construction that really excelled with a jump of more than 8 points to 119.7.

The June results are surprisingly good and suggest that consumers and industry alike are now much more confident that the (still nascent) economic recovery is becoming increasingly well established. This should bode well for further gains in retail sales (April saw a 0.7 percent monthly bounce) as well as the June PMIs due next week.

Istat's business and consumer confidence surveys are conducted over the first fifteen and ten working days of each reference month respectively and provide information about current and expected developments in key sector variables. The largely qualitative results are synthesized for each survey into a single number that provides an overall measure of sentiment. Business confidence reflects the combined results of separate surveys covering manufacturing, retail, construction and services.

If investors want to know how the business or consumer sectors are performing as they evaluate their investment decisions, they can find timely and in depth information in the latest Istat surveys. Although short-term swings can be erratic, changes in trends in confidence can contain very useful information about a sector's underlying health well in advance of the release of the official data. Moreover, by including some forward-looking components (e.g. manufacturing orders or consumer buying intentions) the Istat surveys can also provide a potential insight into prospective developments.