The FINANCIAL — According to a nationally representative sample of 339 Georgians interviewed in early March 2019, the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) slightly improved by 0.3 index points, from -19.2 in February to -18.9 in March.
A similar pattern was observed in both sub-indices: the Present Situation Index increased by 0.2 (from -23.8 to -23.6), and the Expectations Index by nearly 0.4 index points (from -14.6 to -14.1) compared to February. It is worth mentioning that spring has seemed to affect consumer confidence positively (Overall CCI improves during springtime) since 2015 (although data for April 2019 are not accessible yet).
Table 1: Change in Consumer Confidence (in Index Points): March 2019
Table 1 demonstrates which questions are responsible for the slight improvement in Consumer Confidence in the current month, March. The greatest improvement is observed in questions concerningsavings (current and future) and expected inflation. Consequently, the greatest drop is detected in questions related to the expected general economic and personal financial situation, and with the leading drop being spotted in the question regarding major purchases at present.
It is worth noting that the gap in consumer sentiment between Georgia’s population, who live outside Tbilisi, and people living in the capital has been expanding since September 2017. It reached its maximum value (about 21 index points) since we started collecting CCI data exactly one year ago, in March 2018. This gap shrank until October 2018, when it experienced another large drop in November 2018, about 18 points, and has been hovering around 10-13 index points ever since. As for the month of March, consumer confidence dropped in value by about 0.8 index points, from -14.1 in February to -14.8 in March. Whereas, the rest of Georgia showed a slight improvement, by about 0.3 index points, from – 24.3 in February to -23.9 in March. It is also noteworthy that the decline in consumer confidence for Tbilisians is caused by the present situation; the Present Situation Index fell in March by 1.9 index points, from -13.8 to -15.7. While in expectations, Georgia as a whole shows a bit of progress (the Expectations Index is up by 0.4 index points for Tbilisi and the rest of Georgia as well).
Table 2: Change in Consumer Confidence (in Index Points): Tbilisi and the rest of Georgia, March 2019
Table 2 shows which questions caused the decline in the Present Situation Index for Tbilisians for the month of March. Apparently, compared to February 2019, Tbilisians are not positive about their financial situation and making major purchases (such as furniture, electronic devices, etc.) at present. The latter applies to the rest of Georgians as well, though with a much smaller magnitude. It is also of equal importance to notice that the population in the rest of Georgia experienced progress regarding savings at present (“Is now the right time for people to save in Georgia?”, “Your current ability to save”).
Note: Questions marked in red are concerned with present situation.