UBS consumption indicator: Consumer mood clouds slightly in November
The UBS consumption indicator fell slightly in November. Following October’s boost from the new car registrations, November saw the outlook for private consumption in Switzerland become slightly gloomier.
Zurich/Basel, December 27, 2012 – The UBS consumption indicator fell slightly to 1.23 in November from 1.30 points in the previous month. The decline is primarily due to the drop in new car registrations and the lower number of hotel stays by Swiss nationals. The improved business situation in the retail industry staved off a more significant decline.
While new car registrations still had a positive influence on the UBS consumption indicator in October, they had a negative impact in November. Falling 6.3% compared to the same month in the previous year, there was a significant decline in the number of private vehicles registered. The comparison is, however, distorted by the record number of new car registrations last November. New car registrations this year are currently 3.7% or some 10,600 over the figure for the same period last year. With an expected 330,000 new car registrations, 2012 is all set to be a record year. This is probably due to falling prices: Those for new automobiles have dropped by around 14% over the past two years. A record 4.3 million cars are currently registered for use on Swiss roads.
The business situation in the retail industry picked up compared to the previous month. While commerce remains subdued, it has improved somewhat compared to the historic lows seen last year and at the start of this year. The positive trend in the business situation in the retail industry and the continuing high number of new car registrations confirms our relatively optimistic assessment of the further development of private consumption in Switzerland, which is likely to remain an important mainstay of the Swiss economy next year as well.
How the UBS Consumption Indicator is calculated
The UBS Consumption Indicator signals private consumption trends in Switzerland with a lead time of about three months on the official figures. At roughly 60%, private consumption is by far the most important component of Swiss GDP. UBS calculates this leading indicator from five consumer-related parameters: new car registrations, business activity in the retail sector, the number of domestic overnight hotel stays by Swiss residents, the consumer sentiment index, and credit card transactions made via UBS at points of sale in Switzerland. With the exception of the consumer sentiment index, all of this data is available monthly.
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