Consumer sentiment fell back again in March to 73.1 points from the 76.8 reading registered in February, according to the Instituto de Credito Official (ICO) earlier today.
The reading is still up (if only slightly) from the all time historic low of 70.9 registered in January, but still in the conext of everything else we are seeing it is yet another indication that the situation in Spain is becoming grim.
The index measuring the perception of the current economic situation slipped to 60.0 in March from 61.0 in February, and confidence in expectations for the next six months fell to 86.2 from 92.5.
The European Commission has also now reported its eurozone “economic sentiment” indicator for March, with the composite number bouncing back a little from the February reading which its lowest level since December 2005. The indicator, which gauges optimism across all economic sectors and is regarded as a good guide to likely future trends, was back up to 102 after falling to 100.1 in February from 101.7 in January. As we can see in some of the counries shown in the chart below, the picture is a mixed one, with Germany for the time being holding reasonably stable, climbing back to 104 from 103.7 in February (France is also holding up fairly well at 105.6, from 105.2 in February), Ireland hovering, Italy continuing its steady downward path, and Spain continuing to head steadily off the map. The March reading in Spain was 83.9 which was downm from 87.5 in February. I suppose here it is a case of how low can you go before you hit bottom. Yet awhile I suspect.