Thu | Nov 15, 2018

Consumers confident, businesses cautious

Published:Wednesday | October 10, 2018 | 12:00 AMArthur Hall/Associate Editor
Photo of shoppers downtown Kingston.

Local businesses have cooled their expectations for growth in the economy but consumers remain gung-ho about Jamaica's economic prospects.

That is among the major findings of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce Business and Consumer Confidence Survey for the third quarter of this year.

Don Anderson, managing director of Market Research Services, which conducted the fieldwork and analysed the data, yesterday announced that consumer confidence hit a record high in the July-to-September quarter but business confidence remained unmoved.

"At the same time that consumer confidence has surged, business confidence has remained high, but it has plateaued. It shows, in fact, a flattening with some indices with regard to the business sector actually declining," said Anderson.

He noted that the consumer confidence index climbed to 172.6 in the quarter, the highest it has been since the survey was first done in 2001.

This was a sharp increase over the 159.1 at which the index stood at the end of the second quarter of this year.

"There has been concern, as the data does show, that consumers are saying, 'I'm not quite feeling it', but this has not stopped the optimism and the data show that consumers, in particular, are very bullish on almost all the indices in the overall consumer confidence index," noted Anderson.

He pointed out that the business confidence index remained at 140 points in the third quarter, representing no change from the second quarter of the year, and equalling the average of the past 11 quarters, which is from the first quarter of 2016.

"Businesses' assessment of the current business conditions has remained largely the same over the last 10 quarters," said Anderson, as he noted that their view of the economy has changed the most.

arthur.hall@gleanerjm.com