Firms optimistic but consumers more negative

The economic tendency indicator, which summarises how firms and consumers view the economy, decreased marginally from 105.9 in December to 105.6 in January but is well above the historical average. The manufacturing, construction and retail indicators rose, while the services and consumer indicators fell. There were only relatively small changes in the sector indicators, however, the largest being a 1.5 point drop in the services indicator. All of the business indicators are above, and the consumer indicator slightly below, the historical average.

Employment on the way up

The confidence indicator for the manufacturing industry climbed 0.9 points in January to 107.3. Two of the three questions contributed to the increase: firms' assessments of both current order books and current stocks of finished goods were more positive, while expectations for production volumes over the next three months were revised down slightly. The net balances for all three questions are above the historical average.

The confidence indicator for the building and civil engineering industry edged up 0.1 points in January to 108.3. The assessment of current order books was revised down slightly, but remains more positive than normal, while employment plans were more optimistic than in December and are considerably more expansive than normal.

The confidence indicator for the retail trade climbed 0.8 points in January to 108.3 and has been stable above the historical average since autumn 2013. Retailers were more positive about stocks of goods, which contributed positively to the rise in the indicator, while historical sales volumes were reported to have increased at the same rate as in December, making a neutral contribution, and expectations for sales volumes over the next three months were revised down slightly.

The confidence indicator for the private service sector fell 1.5 points in January to 104.9 following the big jump in December. The decrease was due to demand being expected to grow somewhat less quickly over the next three months. Expectations for demand are still more optimistic than normal, however. The net balances for the other questions included in the indicator – historical demand and firms' assessment of how their operations have developed – improved.

Consumers still pessimistic about the economic outlook

The consumer confidence indicator fell 0.7 points in January to 98.6, a level indicating that consumers are somewhat more downbeat than normal. Consumers' view of the current state of their personal finances was still positive, but less so than in December. Even more pessimistic expectations for the Swedish economy over the next 12 months also contributed to the decrease in the indicator. On the other hand, consumers' relatively negative view of the outlook for their personal finances over the next 12 months improved somewhat, as did their assessment of the Swedish economy at present and whether now is a good time to make major purchases.

For further information:

Roger Knudsen, Head of Economic Tendency Surveys +46 8 453 59 06
Maria Billstam, Assignments, methods and samples +46 8 453 59 06
Sarah Hegardt Grant, Head of Communications +46 8 453 59 11