Consumer's confidence index up for third consecutive month in March

Greek consumer confidence index recovered for the third consecutive month in March to -66.2 points, from -67.3 points in February, the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said on Tuesday.

IOBE, in a monthly economic outlook report, said positive results of an EU Summit in March 11 which erased fears of a Greek bankruptcy, helped in the improvement of consumer sentiment in the country. Greek consumers, however, remained the most pessimistic in Europe for a period of more than one year, followed by Romanians, Portuguese, Bulgarians and Maltese consumers.

Greek consumers were less pessimistic over their households' finances in the next 12 months, with the expectations balance falling to the lowest level in the last seven month. A 69 pct of Greek consumers said their finances would worsen slightly in the next 12 months, while a 7.0 pct said they expected a slightly or markedly improvement.

Greek households' expectations over the country's finances in the next 12 months also improved in March, for the third consecutive month at -65 points -the best performance in the last six months. Their intention to save money in the next 12 months, however, fell further to -60.2 points in March from -58.9 in February, with four in five Greek consumers saying they did not expect to save money.

Consumers' expectations over unemployment in the next 12 months continue to be very negative, while their intention to make significant purchases in the next 12 months (furniture, electrical appliances, etc) improved in March, recovering for the second consecutive month.

Their expectations over inflation in the next 12 months have stabilized in March to 33-34 points, with 15 pct of consumers saying prices will remain unchanged, and 61 pct saying prices will rise more rapidly.

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