The positive mood among European consumers has continued into the first quarter of 2017. At the end of December 2016, the consumer climate for the 28 EU countries had already risen to its highest level since January 2008. In January 2017, it further climbed by two points to 19.9 points, before settling at a level of 18.9 in March. This is one of the results of the GfK consumer climate study for Europe in the first quarter of 2017.
In terms of the respective economic and income expectations and propensity to buy indicators, significant differences were once more apparent in the individual analyses of all countries surveyed. They are attributable to differing economic developments and the country-specific labor market situation. The influence of predominant topics at a pan-European level such as Brexit, the strengthening of nationalist parties, the new government in the USA and the war in Syria therefore did not affect the development of the individual indicators equally in all countries.
Belgium: Economic and income expectations exhibit a positive trend
Belgian consumers are much more optimistic in terms of their economic expectations at the end of the quarter than they were in the previous year. At 13.8 points in March, the indicator was at its highest level since the end of 2015. This is a sign that Belgian consumers are expecting an economic recovery.
Similarly positive developments were also seen for income expectations, which ended their negative trend of recent months and were on positive ground again by the end of the first quarter of 2017. At 2.5 points, the indicator was more than 25 points above the value recorded in the previous year, when -22.9 points were registered at the end of March 2016.
Belgian consumers’ propensity to buy remained relatively constant compared to previous months. On a year-on-year basis, however, the indicator was at 16.6 points at the end of the first quarter of 2017, which is almost seven points below the value measured in March 2016.
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