Consumer confidence more pessimistic in the fourth quarter of 2021; Results for the fourth quarter of 2021

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As the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, was causing a new wave of infections, consumers became more pessimistic, as consumer confidence index fell by 0.8 index point to 94.1 in the fourth quarter of 2021 (Chart 1).

By the end of the fourth quarter, top of mind consumer concerns were: (i) worsening of the government financial position (7 percentage points more compared to the previous quarter (Q3-2021: 54 percent)), while (ii) 32 percent expected worse economic conditions, i.e., 7 percentage points more compared to previous quarter (Q3-2021: 25 percent). Noteworthy is that 51 percent of respondents still thought that finding a new job would be difficult, i.e., 4 percentage points more compared to previous quarter (Q3-2021: 47 percent). However, only 56 percent of respondents indicated that they were concerned about their personal health, which is 10 percentage points less compared to previous quarter (Q3-2021: 66 percent).

Both the present situation and the future expectation index fell, i.e., by, respectively, 1.6 index points to 93.4 and 1.0 index point to 96.1 in the fourth quarter of 2021. More respondents reported (60 percent) that they expected the Aruban economy to take an additional 2 years to fully recover from the COVID-19 crisis (Q3-2021: 56 percent).

The number of respondents (66 percent) reporting that buying a car was not suitable remained practically the same (Q3-2021: 67 percent), while a slightly higher number (67 percent) indicated that taking out a loan was not appropriate (Q3-2021: 65 percent). A marginally smaller number of respondents (60 percent) reported that taking out a mortgage was unsuitable (Q3-2021: 61 percent). About 51 percent stated that going on vacation was not appropriate (Q3-2021: 56 percent). Consequently, the consumer purchasing habit index stood at 93.9 in the fourth quarter of 2021, down from 94.1 in the previous quarter.