IT: Business and Consumer Confidence

Fri Nov 27 03:00:00 CST 2015

Consensus Actual Previous Revised
Bus. Conf. Level 107.0 107.1 107.5 107.0
Mfg. Conf. Level 105.9 104.6 105.9 105.7
Cons. Conf. Level 116.5 118.4 116.9 117.0

Overall business sentiment edged up 0.1 points from a lower revised October reading to 107.1 in November. This was its highest level since October 2007 and suggests that the Italian economic recovery, notwithstanding a disappointing third quarter, is gaining long overdue traction.

Within the advance in total business sentiment manufacturing morale sipped from 105.7 to 104.6 but this was still its second best reading so far in 2015 and 5 points above its mark a year ago. Elsewhere, confidence was up in construction (121.4 after 119.8) and services (113.7 after 113.1) and while retail lost ground (115.0 after 116.3) this only reversed a fraction of October's near-8 point bounce.

Meantime, consumer sentiment was up for a fourth consecutive month and at 118.4, was more than 20 points above its level in November 2014. The recovery here has been marked since early in the year and, potentially crucially, November's gain was accompanied by a sharp rise in buying intentions as well as a small increase in price expectations.

Today's results should be reflected in an increase in the November PMI's composite output index, due next week. In turn this would bode well for a pick-up in real GDP growth this quarter following the sluggish 0.2 percent quarterly rate registered in July-September.

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.