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UBS consumption indicator: Consumer sentiment thawing
The UBS consumption indicator rose slightly in February. Increase due to better-than-expected new car registrations.
Zurich/Basel, March 27, 2013 – In February the UBS consumption indicator rose slightly month-on-month to 1.26 from 1.15 (revised from 1.18). In addition to the stabilization of new car registrations, this can mainly be explained by a slight rise in retail sales.
After registrations of new motor vehicles fell by around 10% in January compared to the same month last year, the situation looked a tad brighter in February. The downward trend tailed off markedly, declining only 4.6% compared to the same month last year. At the start of 2013, car importers were still reckoning with an overall decline of 10% for 2013. So far, however, the accumulated decrease amounts to only 7.4%. Furthermore, according to its organizers, exhibitors at the Geneva Motor Show, which saw 690,000 admissions, are extremely satisfied with the progress of the exhibition despite a 2% decline in visitors in comparison with last year's figures. This spurs hope for a better-than-expected car year in 2013. Other sub-indicators of the UBS consumption indicator also contributed modestly to the positive picture overall. Retail sales in particular were on the increase, thus extending the positive trend that has been apparent for a number of months.
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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