Thursday, July 26, 2007

Consumer Confidence in the Global Village

The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research has been conducting consumer surveys since 1946. Earlier this year, UM entered a partnership with Reuters to disseminate the results of their consumer surveys. The gold standard of such surveys, the Index of Consumer Expectations portion is an official component of the U.S. Index of Leading Economic Indicators.

The final numbers for July are due out tomorrow morning. Drum roll please. The preliminary numbers for July were unexpectedly high--92.4 up from 85.3 in June. But domestic economic news has been mixed in the meantime.

On Tuesday Countrywide Financial Corp., the nation's largest mortgage lender, reported a 33% drop in second quarter net income. It also reported that prime borrowers are showing payment difficulties on home equity credit lines.

At 3:30 today, the Dow was down by 350 points, with analysts citing concerns about credit as catalyst for the meltdown. And this had a global impact, as the SanDiego Tribune online site reports:"The declines triggered a global sell-off in stocks, causing minor losses in Europe to accelerate rapidly along with the Dow's drop. In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 closed down 3.15 percent, Germany's DAX index dropped 2.39 percent, and France's CAC-40 fell 2.78 percent."

To prepare for Friday's release, have a look consumer and business confidence assessments from the global village:

South Africa--Consumer Confidence Still Positive-MasterIndex survey commissioned by Mastercard.
India--India Tops Consumer Confidence Index--AC Nielsen survey for the first half of 2007.
Turkey--Consumer Confidence Drops by .82%--survey by Turkstat and the Central Bank of Turkey.
China--Consumer Confidence Rebounds in July--survey by Xinhua Finance and eziData.
Germany--Business Confidence Falls Slightly in July--survey by Ifo, Munich.
France--Business Confidence Near Six Year High--from Insee, Paris-based national statistics office.

The official release of the Reuters/UM Consumer Confidence Index is around 10a.m. Brace yourself.