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UBS Consumption Indicator: Retailers are hoping for good Christmas business

Zürich Media Releases Switzerland

In October, the UBS consumption indicator rose from 1.47 to 1.49 points. Positive developments in the automobile market and robust domestic tourism continue to support private consumption. However, the slump in the retail sector prevented a stronger rise of the indicator.

Zurich, 30 November 2016 – The UBS consumption indicator stood at 1.49 points in October. The slight increase compared to the September value of 1.47 came mainly thanks to domestic tourism. Compared to last September, the number of hotel stays of Swiss tourists climbed by 1 percent this September. This marks the third rise in a row and highlights the latest positive developments. Although the number of new vehicle registrations decreased slightly in October – by 1840 units or 7.3 percent year on year, the performance in the first 10 months indicates a solid year for vehicles. The Swiss motor vehicle association auto-swiss reckons that the original forecast of 305 000 new registrations for this year will be met or even slightly exceeded.

However the retail sector is still curbing private consumption. In September, it posted a decrease in sales of 2.7 percent year on year. Similarly, the retail business climate index of the ETH Swiss Economic Institute (KOF) is negative, although the October value does show a slight recovery. The year will have to end on a high note to halt the continuing decline in the retail sector. The retailers' hopes now rest on Christmas sales, which are just beginning.


How the UBS Consumption Indicator is calculated
The UBS .Consumption Indicator signals private consumption trends in Switzerland with a lead time of one to three months on the official figures. At more than 50%, private consumption is by far the most important component of Swiss GDP. UBS calculates this leading indicator from six 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, employment figures and credit card transactions made via UBS at points of sale in Switzerland. With the exception of the consumer sentiment index and employment figures, all of this data is available monthly.

UBS Switzerland AG


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Alessandro Bee, UBS Chief Investment Office WM
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