Consumer confidence in the economy improved in January
Consumer confidence in the economy was exceptionally low in 2022. Consumer confidence decreased almost uninterrupted until December. However, there was an upturn at the end of the year. Consumer confidence improved by nearly seven points from its December low. In January 2023, consumer confidence improved in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area to -8.6 and in February to -7.5. The corresponding figures for the whole country were -12.7 and -11.9. Despite their weakness, the figures have clearly increased from the previous year, when economic expectations were the weakest in the entire 20-year measurement history.
Successive crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian attack on Ukraine, accelerating inflation, rising interest rates and increasing energy prices, have made consumers see the future of the economy as uncertain or even weak. These expectations are in line with those of central banks, which are also expecting a slight fall in the total production in 2023.
The consumer confidence indicator measures consumer expectations regarding their own economy and the Finnish economy after one year. The measurement is carried out by Statistics Finland on a monthly basis.
Macro and micro indicators
The macro indicator describes consumer expectations concerning the development of the entire country’s employment and economic situation. The news of the war in Ukraine, together with the rising interest rates, for example, turned this indicator clearly negative. The turn for the better took place at the beginning of 2023. In the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, the macro indicator was -12.9 in February. Although this figure is weak, it is still the highest since June 2022. The micro indicator, which measures consumers’ own finances and is usually quite stable, also fell in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area from February 2022 onwards. Confidence in one’s own economy and personal saving possibilities over the next year weakened clearly until autumn 2022, after which the situation started to improve slightly again. In other words, consumers see the Finnish economy in slightly more positive light than before, but do not expect their own economic situation to improve in the near future.