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UWI Study: 67.9% of Vincentians say government doing a good job

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A recent study conducted by the University of the West Indies (UWI) has shown that Vincentians are among the least pessimistic in CARICOM in relation to the state of the economy, with Vincentians giving their government highest marks in relation to current government economic policies.{{more}}

The study, conducted during the last two weeks of June, measured consumers’ perceptions and expectations of their personal financial situation, business conditions, economic conditions, and buying conditions, and was conducted by the Department of Management Studies at UWI, Cave Hill.

The indices compiled during the study represent the degree of optimism on the state of the economy that consumers are expressing through their activities of savings and spending.

For the part of the survey which dealt with Government Economic Policy, Vincentians and Barbadians gave their governments the highest marks. 67.9% of Vincentians and 63.8% of Barbadians said their respective governments were doing a “good job” or “only fair”, while Jamaican respondents gave their government the lowest grade, with 63.4% of them saying the government was doing a poor job. Over 50% of respondents in St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Trinidad also felt their governments were doing a poor job. Only 25.5% of Vincentians felt their government was doing a poor job.

The consumer satisfaction indices were quantitatively derived scores with an anchor of 100. They range from 0, which indicates a very negative outlook, to 200, indicating a positive outlook, with 100 representing neutrality.

In the Consumer Sentiment Index, scores ranged from a high of 85 in Guyana and 77 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to a low of 53 in St. Lucia. This suggests that consumers in Guyana, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada, which scored 73, are the more optimistic, less pessimistic consumers. The consumers in Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago are about average, while St. Lucians, Kittians, Jamaicans and Antiguans are among the most pessimistic, scoring 53, 54, 54 and 56 respectively. The Consumer Sentiment Index measured consumers’ outlook in terms of their personal financial situation and general business and economic conditions.

In the Consumer Expectation Index, for which an index value of less than 100 suggests that a majority of consumers expect their personal financial situation and general business and economic conditions to get worse over the next twelve months, Guyana and St. Vincent and the Grenadines remained at the top, with 81 and 74 respectively. Jamaica recorded the lowest score with 47. Consumers in Jamaica, St. Lucia and St. Kitts were more pessimistic, recording scores of 47, 50 and 58 respectively.

Consumers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana and Grenada also gave the highest ratings in relation to the current economic situation. St. Vincent and the Grenadines scored 82, Guyana 91 and Grenada 85. Consumers in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Barbados were about average, while consumers in St. Kitts, Antigua and St. Lucia gave the lowest ratings to current economic conditions, ranging from 47 to 58 . An index of more than 100 suggests that consumers think that economic conditions are better than they were a year ago, with an index of less than 100 suggesting that consumers think that situations are worse than a year ago. The Current Economic Conditions Index average stood at 70, indicating that a majority of persons in CARICOM think that economic conditions are worse than they were a year ago.

In the Personal Financial Situation Index, the scores range from a high of 112 in Guyana to a low of 50 in St. Kitts and Nevis. St. Vincent and the Grenadines scored 99. The results suggest that the personal financial situations of the majority of persons in St. Lucia (103) or Guyana have stayed the same or got better over the last year; things have been pretty even in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada (94) and a majority of persons in Trinidad and Tobago (87). Persons in Barbados and Dominica have seen their personal financial position worsen, recording scores of 60 and 69 respectively, while a sizable majority of persons in St. Kitts, Antigua and Jamaica are worse off.

The CARICOM’s Expected Personal Financial Situation Index stood at 103 which suggests that a majority of consumers across CARICOM expected their personal financial situation to stay the same or improve over the next twelve months. The results ranged from a high of 125 in Guyana to a low of 76 in St. Kitts. St. Vincent and the Grenadines scored 110.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines scored 112 in the Buying Conditions in the Country index. An index of less than 100 suggests that consumers think it’s a bad time to undertake personal expenditure on cars, houses and durable goods, while an index of more than 100 suggests that a majority of consumers think it’s a good time to undertake these purchases. Grenada gained the highest score in this index with 126, followed by Guyana, which scored 123. The lowest score was St. Lucia with 44.

St. Lucia topped the board in the Perceptions of Unemployment for the next twelve months, with 53.5 per cent of respondents stating that they expected there to be more unemployment. Vincentian respondents thought that unemployment would stay the same rather than increase, with 38.8 per cent stating that unemployment would stay the same and 34.5 per cent stating that unemployment will increase. Grenada recorded the lowest score with 13.1 per cent stating that unemployment would increase.

Over 61% of Vincentian respondents felt that prices will go up over the next twelve months, while 23.5% stating that prices would stay the same. 4% felt that prices would go down. In Antigua 55.1% of respondents thought that prices would go up, while in Barbados, Dominica and Grenada, 67.5%, 71.8% and 55.7% of respondents, respectively, thought that prices would go up.

The consumer surveys were administered by trained research assistants in Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica, Guyana and the individual OECS countries. About 1000 surveys were conducted in each territory to permit a fairly representative sample. A total of 6,157 responses were collected across ten countries. No country returned fewer than 500 responses.

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