Another day, another confident confidence reading


Deloitte recently said it was seeing indications that consumers were starting to feel a little bit friskier, thanks to an improving outlook on the economy. Deloitte has now been seconded by RBC, which finds consumer confidence not only up, but double what it was a year ago.

However, the RBC Index is still low – it now stands at 39.0 for December 2009. That number is great compared to a month ago, when it stood at 30.2; and it is outstanding compared to the December 2008 reading of 15.3. The problem remains that it is on the low side of a 100-point scale.

“Traditionally, the holidays are a season of hope and optimism. Despite continuing high unemployment and weak assessments of personal finances, the RBC Index shows that American consumers are optimistic that the economy will soon begin to improve,” said RBC Capital Markets U.S. economist Tom Porcelli. “However, overall consumer confidence remains low and susceptible to negative news, which could create more pointed fluctuations in consumer confidence in the near- to medium-term period.”

There was a huge month-to-month surge in near-term economic expectations – it jumped from 21.9 in November all the way to 40.4. Current condition confidence also moved up significantly, from 28.8 to 37.0. Investment confidence rose over ten points, from 36.6 to 46.9. And there was a very slight uptick in employment confidence, from 50.9 to 51.4.

The RBC Index is produced by the Royal Bank of Canada.

RBR-TVBR observation: Bring on those positive readings. Clearly the economy is still in need of a great deal of TLC and healing, and a robust transfusion of cash coming from happy and confident consumers would go a long way toward finding a cure.