CONSUMER confidence has been rising consistently over the months leading up to Christmas and the New Year, with shoppers feeling more relaxed about spending.
At its highest since December last year – but still a long way off the average for 2015 – the customer confidence index (ICC) is currently just over halfway up the scale.
From 0 to 200, with 200 being maximum confidence and 0 being none at all, Spaniards interviewed averaged at 107.4 at the end of 2016, or 53.7% confidence – the highest annual closing figure since before the financial crisis, and 1.3 points above November's 99.4 and 6.7 higher than the ICC figure at the beginning of December.
This marks a rapid recovery after a fall in September and October, when Spain still did not have a government, but is still 0.9 points below the predicted figure of 108.3.
Based upon figures throughout 2015, the ICC has fallen by 6.6% overall – 3.3% in consumers' evaluation of the current economic situation, and 9.4% below expectations.
But year-end figures are still a 2.6-point hike on the third quarter of 2016, a year when the average sat at 95.7 out of 200, albeit still lower than 2015's ICC figure of 102.9.
Still, the ICC annual average remains over five points ahead of the typical figure seen in the years leading up to the financial crisis, and over 45 points above that of 2012, the worst year on record after IVA and income tax hikes shrank the economy.
The difference between forecasts and actual ICC figures during the toughest years of the financial crisis was as much as 50 points, more than double the 22-point difference seen in 2015.