Consumer confidence has improved for the fourth month in a row but people’s expectations of the economy remain low, according to latest official figures.
The headline figure, which balances the number of people with a positive outlook against those with negative expectations, was at minus 44 in February, up from minus 49 in January and a recent low point of minus 59 in October.
The last time the barometer gave a net positive reading was July 2019, but as recently as last June it had recovered to minus 3, the statistics agency CBS said.
On balance people expected the next 12 months to be an improvement on last year. The confidence level in the last year was minus 82, but for the coming year this was measured at minus 26.
People were also more positive about their own financial situation than the economy in general. Overall confidence in the economy was minus 54, but willingness to spend was measured at minus 37.
When asked about their own finances, overall sentiment for the past year was minus 44, but the figure for the next 12 months was minus 9. However, few people expected to make major purchases in the near future: the net score for whether conditions were favourable was minus 57.
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