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MUMBAI : Indian consumers are less pessimistic about the general economic outlook than they were in November, according to the results of the latest consumer confidence survey released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday.

The consumer confidence index for the January survey improved to 63.7 from 62.3 in November.

 “Consumer confidence for the current period recorded gradual improvement for third successive round of the survey though it remained in the pessimistic zone; the current situation index increased marginally on the back of better sentiments on general economic situation, household income and spending," the survey said.

The index however continues to remain in the pessimism zone. An index value below 100 represents pessimism, while one above 100 signals optimism.

The survey was conducted during 2 January and 11 January in 13 major cities including Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Patna and Thiruvananthapuram. The survey obtained current perceptions (vis-à-vis a year ago) and one year ahead expectations on general economic situation, employment scenario, overall price situation and own income and spending from 5,387 households across these cities.

The survey noted that the one year ahead outlook, as reflected by the future expectations index (FEI), remained in the optimism zone.

The index, however, moderated from 109.6 in November to 106.3 in January as the latest survey period coincided with the surge in Covid-19 infection cases in January.

Households reported further increase in overall expenditure driven by higher essential spending, however, their sentiments on non-essential outlay  remained subdued, the survey noted.

Perceptions and expectations for overall spending improved to 49 in January from 47.1 in November, even as future expectations moderated to 56.4 from 58.2 in November.

Outlook for spending on non-essential items dropped significantly to -41.3 in January from -48.2 in November.

Households showed increased optimism on the general economic condition with the index improving to -50.2 in the current survey from -54.2 in the previous survey.

However, future expectations of the economic situation slipped to negative territory to -2.6 from 5.2 in the previous survey.

Households also showed an increase in optimsm on inflation concerns with current perceptions and expectations improving to -86.2 in the latest survey from -89.3 in the previous period.

However, households expressed growing concerns over both current and future employment situations.

Consumer confidence on the employment front deteriorated in the latest survey, dropping to -49 from a level of -46.4 in the previous survey.

Even future expectations on employment dipped sharply, coming in at 1.8 in January, as against 15.4 in the last survey. 

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