Consumer confidence is dropping sharply around the world as coronavirus spreads

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  • The coronavirus outbreak has rattled consumers around the globe in recent weeks, putting one of the largest drivers of the economy at risk.
  • Consumer confidence fell in the US, Japan, Germany, the UK, and France over the past three months, according to a Morning Consult survey released Tuesday.
  • The declines came as the number of confirmed cases of the respiratory illness COVID-19 escalated, the poll said.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The coronavirus outbreak has rattled consumers around the globe in recent weeks, putting one of the largest drivers of the economy at risk.

Consumer confidence fell in the US, Japan, Germany, the UK, and France over the past three months, according to a Morning Consult survey released Tuesday, as the number of confirmed cases of the respiratory illness COVID-19 escalated. Advertisement

Consumer confidence has been on the decline for six weeks in the US, falling nearly 2.5% to 111.36 since January 1. Consumer confidence drives more than two-thirds of activity in the largest economy, so it can have sweeping effects across sectors.

"Consumer confidence in the US is particularly important given the outsized role that consumer spending plays in the US economy," said Morning Consult economist John Leer. "As the driver of the world's largest economy, the outlook of US consumers provides key insights into the future state of the global economy."

In Japan, where at least 488 have been infected with COVID-19, consumer confidence has fallen a jarring 8.7% since January 1. Morning Consult said the decline to 63.05 in the country came at the same time that the number of coronavirus cases increased, but noted that the reading was "in a precarious position before the coronavirus outbreak."
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"Japan passed a consumption tax increase that went into effect in October 2019," Leer said. "The tax and the coronavirus are both likely to weigh on total consumer spending in 2020."

Consumer confidence has dropped 2.71% to 73.99 in France since January 1, according to the poll. After previously rising following reduced Brexit uncertainty, consumer confidence fell more than 3% during that period in the UK. In Germany, consumer confidence has fallen 1.5%.
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