Danish consumers positive about future, despite tentative economic outlook

Consumers in Denmark are increasingly positive about their current financial situations and outlook for the future.

Danish consumers positive about future, despite tentative economic outlook
Shoppers in central Copenhagen. Photo: Linda Kastrup/Ritzau Scanpix

National stats bureau Statistics Denmark (DST) reports that consumer confidence levels increased to a rating of 6.3 in August, compared to 2.9 in July.

That represents the highest value for the measure so far this year.

The jump in consumer confidence may feel paradoxical in light of global events, including the US-China trade war and economists and experts warning of a broader downturn.

As such, the DST figure suggests that private economic situations are in good shape for many in Denmark, according to Tore Stramer, lead economist with financial institution Nykredit.

“It’s a pleasant surprise. You could have been worried that, with increasing risk of global slowdown, Danes would be more cautious,” Stramer said in a written comment.

But most in Denmark are yet to feel the effects of bleaker economic forecasts, another expert said.

“We have relatively high disposable income. We are being paid more and inflation is low,” said Louise Aggerstrøm Hansen, an economist with Danske Bank.

“At the same time, interest has fallen hugely in recent months and that means lower interest costs for homeowners and more breathing space financially,” Hansen added.

READ ALSO: Can you really get paid for borrowing money in Denmark?

“For most people, what is happening immediately in front of them is decisive in whether they feel things are going well,” the economist said.

“Most still have a job, unemployment is not increasing, and the housing market is generally doing well,” she continued.

In the event of Denmark’s economy slowing, the country is in a stronger position than when it was hit by the Global Financial Crisis over a decade ago, according to Hansen.

“We’ve had a healthier upswing. Where we have spent more money, that has been because we have had the money to spend. Not because of borrowing,” she said.

Consumer confidence is measured by surveying 1,000 people in Denmark on their own and the national economic situations.

READ ALSO: What you need to know when buying a home as a foreigner in Denmark

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‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.