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UBS Consumption Indicator surges to highest level in years
The UBS Consumption Indicator continued its upward trend in March. At 2.13 points, it reached its highest level since July 2001, indicating that consumer spending continues to grow at a solid pace in Switzerland. In fact, consumption may even have accelerated in the first quarter of 2007.
The monthly UBS Consumption Indicator rose again in March, reaching 2.13 points from 2.02 in February. In January it was 1.94, meaning it has now exceeded the long-term average of 1.49 for 13 months.
The UBS Consumption Indicator is calculated from five sub-indicators: new car sales, activity in the retail sector, overnight hotel stays by Swiss nationals in Switzerland, the consumer sentiment index, and credit card transactions made via UBS at points of sale in Switzerland. Consumer sentiment improved further in March. At the same time, activity in retail trade remained good, according to the survey results of the Swiss Institute for Business Cycle Research (KOF) at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. By contrast, the number of new car sales fell by 4.0% in March year-on-year.
The indicator, which has a lead of about two months over the official figures, signals very strong consumption in the first quarter of 2007. In fact, consumption may even have accelerated. The outlook remains promising. The improved employment and income picture should support private consumption in the coming months. Overall, UBS expects real private consumption growth of 2.1% in 2007, following an increase of 1.9% in 2006.
UBS Consumption Indicator and private consumption in Switzerland
(Private consumption: year-on-year change in %, UBS Consumption Indicator: index level)
Calculation of the UBS Consumption Indicator:
The UBS Consumption Indicator signals private consumption trends in Switzerland with a lead of about three months on the official figures. At 61%, private consumption is by far the most important component of Swiss GDP. UBS calculates this leading indicator from five consumer-related parameters: new car sales, the business situation in the retail trade, the number of overnight hotel stays by Swiss nationals in Switzerland, 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 these data are available monthly.
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