In March 2021, the consumer confidence index decreased, passing from 101.4 to 100.9. Compared to the previous survey, all its components indicated a light variation. In particular, the personal climate slipped from 104.7 to 104.5, the economic one from 91.5 to 90.2, the future one from 107.5 to 107.1 and, finally, the current from 97.3 to 96.7.
As for the business confidence climate, the index (IESI, Istat Economic Sentiment Indicator) made progress from 93.3 to 93.9.
The confidence index in manufacturing continued to improve from 99.5 to 101.2. The firms were more optimistic about both the order book current trend and the future production developments (the related balances recovered from -18.5 to -14.3. and 3.8 to 4.6, respectively). Furthermore, stocks were considered to remain virtually stable (the balance confirmed at 1.6)
The confidence index in construction ameliorated from 141.9 to 147.9. The positive development was due to the improvement in both its components. In fact, the balance concerning assessments on order books/construction plans recovered from -16.1 to -11.9 and the one on the employment expectations rose from 3.6 to 7.2.
The market services confidence index slipped from 85.7 to 85.3. The opinions of surveyed firms both on the order books and on the business trend further recovered (the balances of the variables rose from -15.5 to -14.1 and from -14.5 to -12.0, respectively). On the contrary, the expectations on the future order books worsened and the balance of the variable went down from -3.5 to -8.7.
The retail trade confidence index diminished passing from 93.7 to 90.9. Among the confidence-building variables, a marked decline showed the short-term expectations on the volume of future sales, while assessments on the current business trend weakened (the balances of these variables varied from 11.8 to 0.4 and from -11.8 to -12.4, respectively). Whith regard to inventories, the firms reported a reduction in stock level and the related balance declined from 12.2 to 9.0. The worsening in confidence was spread across both the large scale distribution and the small and medium scale one.