Consumer confidence in the Spanish economy fell in March to its lowest level since July 2013, after experiencing the largest monthly variation in the historical series in the month that containment measures began to combat the coronavirus epidemic.
The consumer confidence index (ICC) for February published this Monday by the Center for Sociological Research (CIS) stood at 63.3 points, 22.4 points below February and far from the 100 that make the difference between a positive and negative perception.
The CIS specifies in an explanatory note that this indicator comes in a "special and atypical" context, since the field work was carried out between March 16 and 20, in the middle of a period of state of alarm and confinement, which has altered consumption patterns and has introduced uncertainty in expectations.
The ICC, which add nine consecutive months in negative, It had already experienced falls in the autumn of 2019, but the March takes it to the lowest level since 2013, in the midst of the economic crisis, although still far from the historical minimum of 37.6 points in July 2012.
In the March indicator, respondents valued the current situation at 57.2 points, 18.7 less than in February, a fall that is more abrupt in the economy in general (of 26.1 points) and the labor market (21.8 points) than in the situation of the home, which loses 8.3 points.
The expectations, meanwhile, deteriorated by 26 points, to 69.4 points, especially given the worst prospects for the economy (30.2 points less) and, to a lesser extent, the labor market (23.6 points less) and the situation of the household (24.2 points less).
The CIS also observes a collapse of the outlook for consumption, which plunged 17.8 points, and savings, which lost 19.2 points, while inflation fears and expectations of rising interest rates are falling.
In their responses, 29.3% of those surveyed pointed out that the economic situation of their home has worsened in the last six months, more than double that of those who have improved it (12.1%). More than half (62%) stated that it is more difficult to find a job and 14% now have more unemployed people in their environment than six months ago.
Pessimism about the economic situation
This pessimism extends to the country's economic situation, which 67.6% of those questioned see worse than half a year ago, when only 10.2% see it better.
Looking ahead, 32.7% of the responses point to a worsening of the household economic situation in the next six months, mainly due to the economic crisis, and 59.1% expect that the possibility of finding a job.
About a third of those surveyed expect their savings opportunities (37.9%) and the purchase of durable goods, such as cars or furniture, to worsen in the next year (32.2%), while only 11.6 % and 10.1% are optimistic in this regard.
Thus, 65.1% of those questioned predict a worsening of the Spanish economy in the next six months.