US Confidence and Global Markets
The US Consumer Confidence Index or CCI that is determined and distributed each month by The Conference Board has fallen in recent years due to consumer trust in banks, Wall Street, big business, income levels, and job security. Based on the original 100% benchmark for the CCI in the US, which began in 1985, the index hovers steady between 50% and 60%, but no higher.
Foreign country bailouts in the housing and banking industry are still affecting US CCI levels and are reported daily by national newspapers and networks. The fear of foreign markets buying up foreclosed homes and intervention into banks makes for a concerned US consumer. But what about consumer confidence in the global economic crisis and the countries it affects?
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A Look at Global Consumer Confidence
Just as in the US, other countries face enormous consumer concern and are asking for consumer help in their down economies.
- United Kingdom – Some planned taxes may be put on hold where others like out-of-country vacation homes owned by non-UK people may go up. Still, the UK is trying to figure out how to pay for a countrywide Internet broadband service and to the government, this means higher taxes for people who have landlines. Unemployment rates are still high bringing the consumer confidence index to all time lows in the UK.
- Greece – Consumers here are worried about how much the government is lending to other countries. Bond markets remain high; a good thing for the economy but taxes to non-Greeks is a near possibility to aid in foreign lending.
- France – France faces similar problems when compare to the UK. Unemployment is down, consumer confidence is down, and taxes are on the rise to help pay for economic losses and healthcare.
- Germany – The German market seems to be holding steady and with the partnership of Daimler AG and Nissan-Renault’s promise to make more eco-friendly export cars and powertrains for larger vehicles, expect jobs to increase here.
- Japan – Consumer confidence in Japan is on the rise by an entire percentage point since global economies started falling in 2008. Largely based on exports, jobs are high but infrastructure needs may slow production of some export items. It remains to be seen if the Toyota automaker can regain the trust of the US where it was once tops in sales.
- Asian Markets – Almost every other Asian market including China, Thailand, South Korea, and Malaysia have been minimally affected by consumer confidence in the global market crisis. Again, exports and strong stock markets and currencies are keeping these countries elevated.
- Russia – Russia is part of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economy and nothing seems to appear bad in any BRIC-related nation. Consumer confidence is up and so is optimism for the future.
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The Worst of the Worst
With consumer confidence in the global economic crisis low in certain countries, nations hit the hardest may find it hard to regain that confidence; and that includes the US. Economists suggest you just can’t make people happy with higher taxes, no jobs, and loss of homes, especially when financially empowered countries are buying up homes and land.
Governments faced with a low consumer confidence index need to find ways to rebound their economies to keep their nations alive. The argument that all governments must come to realize that the economic crisis has called for a true global and sharing effort on the part of every country remains a hard fact to sell.