An index, based on a quarterly telephone survey, rose to minus 8 from minus 19 in January, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs in Bern said in an e-mailed statement today. Economists forecast a gain to minus 15, according to the median of 11 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.
Consumers are growing more confident as the economy shows signs of regaining some strength, with companies including Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, the second-largest luxury goods maker, beating earnings estimates. The International Monetary Fund on May 8 forecast growth to accelerate to 1.7 percent in 2013 from 0.8 percent this year, partly as consumers step up spending.
“These are very good numbers indeed, especially where the economic outlook and expectations for the labor market are concerned,” said Reto Huenerwadel, a senior economist at UBS AG in Zurich. “Confidence is also supported by an increase in real income for consumers and a stable labor market.”
A sub-indicator of consumers’ assessment of the economic situation over the coming year rose to minus 2 from minus 29 in January and households also grew more confident about job prospects, the statement showed. A measure of expected cost developments over the coming 12 months rose to 34 from 25, indicating more people project higher prices.
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