Indians are not confident of holding on to their jobs — and rising prices are not helping

  • The consumer confidence on key measures — income, employment — touched 85.7 in November, as per the latest Consumer Confidence survey by Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • Its index of future expectations fell to 114.5 from 118 in November.
  • In a surprising move, the Reserve Bank of India has kept the interest rates unchanged after five consecutive rate cuts this year.
As slowdown is eating into jobs and affecting incomes-- Indian households are losing confidence. According to Reserve Bank of India (RBI), consumer confidence index which measures — income and employment — dipped to a new low of 85.7 in November.

This is after it has already hit a six year low in September to 89.4. Its had declined in October too-- and has been dropping every month.

And they have a lot to worry about with job cuts across sectors. The unemployment rate in October stood at 8.5% — the worst in three years.

Those who have jobs too are worried that they might not be able to hold on to it. The perception of employment shows a downward projection at 33.1 in November. In September, the perception of income turned negative for the first time since March 2018.

“Consumers’ sentiments on the general economic situation and the employment scenario weakened, but their one-year ahead expectations remained in the optimistic terrain for all parameters, except prices; expectations on income one-year ahead improved marginally over the previous survey round,” said the RBI survey.

Apparently, the consumers can not pull back from spending. But the sentiment has deteriorated.

“Most respondents perceived prices as having increased during the last one year, and they expect a further rise in prices in the year ahead; households’ sentiments on overall spending remained resilient,” it added.

The central bank analysed respondents from over 5,300 households across 13 cities including Delhi and Mumbai. The survey asked the country’s perception and anticipation on the economy, employment, income and expenditure.

In a surprising move, the Reserve Bank of India has kept the interest rates unchanged after five consecutive rate cuts this year. "The upsurge in prices of vegetables is likely to continue in immediate months; however, a pick-up in arrivals from the late kharif season along with measures taken by the Government to augment supply through imports should help soften vegetables prices by early February 2020," the MPC statement said.

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