BY DR. H. BADER ARSLAN
The consumer confidence index fell to 76.8, a 152-month low in October, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute. The index declined to such levels last time in the 2008-2009 period, during the Global Financial Crisis. Consumer confidence is a misperceived datum in Turkey. If it rises from 76 to 79, consumer confidence is interpreted as a surge. However, it is an index varying between 0-200. Any figure below 100 should be read as pessimism and any figure above 100 should be read as optimism. The last time consumer confidence exceeded 100 was in 2006. Four sub-indices forming the index declined in October with the sharpest decrease seen in the household finances expectations index for the next 12 months. Under normal circumstances while the current economic situation index hitting historic lows should be worrisome, the start of a decline in future expectations should really be taken seriously by economic decision makers.