Economic research institute GKI’s combined gauge of consumer and business confidence edged down to 8.6 points in March from 9.5 points in the previous month.
The business confidence index fell to 13.6 points from 15.5 points as expectations slightly worsened in all business sectors.
The industrial confidence index fell in March after peaking in the previous month. While assessments of output and inventories in the previous period improved, the outlook deteriorated. Companies also gave more negative views of orders although they were more confident of export orders.
After reaching a historical peak, the construction sector index fell for the third month as companies’ assessment of output in the previous three months slightly improved but that of order stock worsened.
The commerce sector confidence index deteriorated the most in March, after peaking in February. Assessments of sales positions, inventories and orders all worsened.
The service sector index fell back to its December level on deteriorating assessments of turnover in the previous period and overall sentiment although turnover expectations improved.
The consumer confidence index continued to rise, to -5.8 points from -7.6 points. Consumers have not been this optimistic since November 2002. Consumers’ expectations of their prospective financial position as well as of their own ability to make savings were better than in February.
People were also more optimistic about their ability to make big-ticket purchases.