Consumer Confusion Index At Record High

The latest Norwegian CCI numbers was released Friday,  and shows a small increase of 0,5 points. Still, the country’s two main providers of electronic financial news manage to present two totally different views on the consumer confidence. According to, the Norwegians’ confidence about their own economy is strengthening, but the competitor says is weakening.

“Uncertainty about the development of both unemployment and interest rates probably contribute to the restrain in consumer confidence.”

Mari Paulsrud

In spite of the recent less-worse-the-expected numbers from the Norwegian labor market, the Norwegians continue to be skeptical about both the national and their personal economic future. They’re even planning on saving more money in the next 12 month. Now, that’s really confusing to the nations establishment of economists.

Norway is a funny little country.

It sees itself as one of the most democratic states in the world, although the country has been ruled by the same socialistic political party for more than 70 years.

(Except for a few short guest appearances by the conservatives).

Almost ethical and morally flawless, an environmental frontier, (and the only people with balls big enough to stand up to Hitler in WWII).

Yeah, well, I won’t go down that road. Not today.

I will only point out another Norwegian characteristic; the ability to justify every opinion with the exact same argument.

Today’s amusing example is illustrated by the headlines of Norway’s two main financial news sites, and E24.

While one is reporting that the Norwegian consumer confidence is strengthening, the other is reporting that it’s weakening.

They both use the exact same quotes by macro economist Mari Paulsrud at the research institute, Opinion AS, to argue their case.

Pretty Flat

But – first – let’s look at the actual number.

Norway’s CCI came in at 8,7 points in February, up 0,5 percentage points from January, and up from 0,0 points a year ago.

And the economist Mari Paulsrud makes it pretty much clear in her statement.

“Consumer confidence rose slightly this month, but continues to remain relatively flat, as it has done several months in a row. This reflects some uncertainty among consumers and there are still some hesitation when it comes to optimism.”

“Uncertainty about the development of both unemployment and interest rates probably contribute to the restrain in consumer confidence.”

Paulsrud also emphasize the fact that the actual confidence is declining, but an increase in peoples willingness to save money makes the sum of all the sub indexes positive.

Half Empty – Half Full

Yet, it results in these two headlines: (Dagens Næringsliv): (VG, Aftenposten):

And actually they’re both kinda telling the truth.

If you see the CCI numbers over a years period of time, the confidence is getting better.

But if you look isolated at the last few months, the rise in optimism is curbing.

Consumer Confusion Index

The most confused people here is probably not the Norwegian consumers, but the members of the mainstream media and the national establishment of economists.

The latest development in the labor market has been far less worse than expected a year ago. Low rates, combined with practically no inflation and rising wages has given most Norwegians more spending power. And the housing market is back on a fast track to heaven.

So, why aren’t the “consumers” more optimistic? Taking up more loans and running down the shops? (as they’re supposed to, according to theories).

Well, here’s the real news: THEY ARE NOT THAT STUPID !

(By the way; here’s economist Mari Paulsrud’s Blog Post on the latest CCI numbers).

Related by the Econotwist:

Evaluation Of Norwegian Monetary Policy

Norway’s GDP Fall For First Time In 20 Years

End Of The European Upswing?

Final Words Of A Central Banker

How To Make A Rat Look Like A Puppy

Norway: Key Policy Rate Remains Unchanged

Norway Economic Update – “Partly Grim”

Fear Of Norwegian Housing Market Collapse

Fighting The Reality

Norway’s Prime Minister Fears Social Unrest

Central Bank of Norway raise interest rate again

Roubini: “The Worst Is Yet To Come”

Robert Schiller: – Recovery is just luck

“The Norwegian Syndrome”

Not So Rosy After All

Crisis In A New Light

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