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UBS consumption indicator increases sharply in March
The UBS consumption indicator rose significantly in March after a mediocre start to the year, and at 1.84 points reached the highest level since May 2011.
Zurich/Basel, 30 April 2014 – The UBS consumption indicator rose to 1.84 points in March from 1.52. Above all improved consumer sentiment and business activity in the retail sector contributed to this strong increase. The trend for new car registrations remained negative, and fell by 8.1% to 26,250 compared with the same month in the previous year.
Seasonally adjusted, the business conditions index for the retail sector rose slightly in March by 0.24 points to 8.02 points. The index is thus over the long-term average of 6.09 points and indicates pleasing business activity for companies in the retail trade. This positive assessment of business activity can be attributed to the improved sales figures in recent months. According to the Federal Statistical Office, retail sales have risen since the beginning of the year, suggesting a slight recovery in the retail sector.
With expected economic growth of 2.1% in the current year, UBS foresees that consumer spending will stay strong, but lose momentum slightly. Private consumption, expected to grow at 1.9%, will nonetheless remain an important pillar of Swiss economic growth. UBS economists anticipate that private consumer spending will pick up again slightly next year, with overall economic growth totaling 2.4%.