CCI’s quick comeback. After consumer confidence hit the lowest point since the pandemic this February, it rapidly got back on track in March. The index increased by 10.9 index points, from -42.4 in February to -31.5 in March. Both the Present Situation Index and the Expectations Index contributed to the increase, with the Present Situation Index increasing by 8.1 index points and the Expectations Index by 13.7 points (Chart 1).
The major contributors to the increase are almost exactly the same aspects of CCI that were dragged down in February. The highest contribution came from the increase in expectations about unemployment (26 index points) that have significantly increased even compared to January levels (by 11 points). More people expect the general economic situation to change as the index value increased by 23 points and reached a slightly higher level than observed in January. Furthermore, people’s current readiness to make major household purchases increased by 22 points, but overall, the level is still a bit lower than in January. While positive trends were observed for some of the components of CCI, people’s perceptions of their personal financial situations have been worsening consecutively over the last few months and still stay close to the low level seen after the pandemic hit.
The sentiments of Tbilisians and residents of the rest of Georgia came back to close levels after the divergence between them in February. Tbilisians’ sentiment has increased by 5.3 index points, while for the rest of Georgia the increase is 16.5 points. Consumer confidence remains higher for Tbilisians, due to the difference in the Present Situation Index. Since the start of 2021, the Expectations Index was always higher for residents of the rest of Georgia. However, the trend reversed in February 2022 with a huge decline in the expectations of residents in the regions of Georgia. In March, expectations returned to their trend and the future sentiments in the rest of Georgia are 5 points higher than those of Tbilisians. The population in the regions is particularly optimistic about their future personal finances and the general economic situation in the country.
BAR CHARTS: Consumer Responses by Questions