UBS consumption indicator November 2014: fewer cars, but encouraging Christmas season

Zurich and Basel - 29 December 2014

The UBS consumption indicator fell slightly in November from 1.32 to 1.29 points. Fewer new car registrations are weighing on consumption, but on the positive side, Christmas retail business has apparently made a good start.

Seasonally adjusted registrations of new cars in November fell by 7% against the previous month. New car registrations have been skidding for the past two and a half years, and the past month did nothing to provide better traction. Before the introduction of stricter CO2 guidelines in June 2012, car dealers had sold a particularly high number of new cars, which has since had a negative effect on the sale of new vehicles.

In the retail industry, Christmas business appears to be off to a good start. At least retailers' mood has improved again after the crash in recent months. The index for the assessment of business conditions rose from -8 to 3 points in November. This means the optimists among retailers are again in the majority for the first time since July and are preventing a stronger decline in the consumption indicator.

How the UBS Consumption Indicator is calculated 

The UBS Consumption Indicator signals private consumption trends in Switzerland with a lead time of about three months on the official figures. At roughly 60%, private consumption is by far the most important component of Swiss GDP. UBS calculates this leading indicator from five 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, and credit card transactions made via UBS at points of sale in Switzerland. With the exception of the consumer sentiment index, all of this data is available monthly.

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