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Consumer confidence back to pre-crisis levels

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Consumer confidence back to pre-crisis levels
With confidence up, will flat spending finally see a spike? Photo: Copenhagen Media Center
14:06 CEST+02:00
Danes are feeling better about the economy than they have since 2007, so does that mean the recession is finally over? The Local spoke to an economics professor to find out.
Two newly-released consumer confidence studies indicate that Danes feel the recession is safely behind them.
 
Statistics Denmark’s consumer expectations survey revealed that Danes’ consumer confidence rose for a record fifth consecutive month, while Nielsen’s 2014 Global Consumer Confidence Survey showed that Denmark enjoys the highest level of consumer confidence in Europe.
 
In the Statistics Denmark index, in which respondents are asked about their both own financial situation and the general economic conditions in Denmark, consumer confidence rose to 10.6 points in July. That is the highest number since January 2007.
 
“The consumer confidence index has taken yet another hop up and now sits at 10.6 in July compared to 9.3 in June,” Statistics Denmark stated. “With that, the positive development in consumer confidence, which for the past year has been at an average of 7.1, continues.”
 
It is the first time in 40 years of the index that consumer confidence levels have increased for five straight months. 
 
While it might be tempting to say that the increase in confidence means that Denmark has finally recovered from the recession, Bo Sandemann Rasmussen, an economics professor at Aarhus University, said we are not quite there yet.
 
“We are pretty close to being out of the recession, but we seem to lack the final evidence that were are finally out of it," Rasmussen told The Local. "Some of the key indicators like growth and job creation don’t yet show the substantial evidence that the recession is truly over, but I think we can expect to come out of it in the next one or two quarters.”
 
According to Nielsen’s annual consumer confidence survey, Danes feel better about the economy than their neighbours do. While consumer confidence dropped in most European markets in the fourth quarter of 2013, Denmark was the only country to post a confidence score above Nielsen’s optimism baseline.
 
With an index score of 105, Denmark was just one of 11 countries in the world to indicate overall optimism. Neighbouring Germany had an index score of 95, while Sweden scored at 85. 
 
Nine out of ten countries with the lowest overall consumer confidence scores in Nielsen’s index were from Europe. The most confident countries were in Asia, with Indonesia, India, the Philippines and China taking the top four spots.  
 
Rasmussen said that the Nielsen results could simply be a matter of timing. 
 
“If you look back at the the last four to five years, we have had almost no growth in Denmark, whereas other countries have grown faster. Denmark has been at a standstill,” Rasmussen said. “People seem to be paying off their debt, but private consumption has been flat over the past five years. So we’ve been just a bit slower to come out of it than some of the other European countries.”
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