By Mette Fraende
COPENHAGEN, June 20 (Reuters) - Denmark's consumer
confidence turned positive in June for the first time in a
nearly a year, raising hope that one of the country's biggest
growth-drivers could help improve economic growth.
The Danish consumer sentiment index rose to positive 3.4
points in June against analysts' average forecast for a decline,
and an improvement from negative 2.6 points in May, the
statistics office said on Thursday.
Consumers expect both their own finances and Denmark's
economic situation in one year will be better than it is today,
and for the first time since April last year, expect a fall in
unemployment, the statistics office said.
'Today's figures are good news for consumers, as Danes'
economic optimism has improved significantly,' Realkredit
Danmark chief economist, Christian Heinig said.
He added that a large consumer upswing would however be
expecting too much at this point as house prices, although
stabilising to some extend, were still on the decline in some
parts of the country.
The improved confidence was helped by very low interest
rates, an expectation that unemployment will fall, and an
improvement in disposable income, he said.
'We need to see the new optimism take a stronghold in the
coming months before we firmly highlight a shift in consumer
confidence,' said Danske Bank economist Jens Pedersen.
'When that is said, this is definitely good news for
Denmark's economy,' Pedersen said. 'If consumers have found
their optimism again, it is looking promising for growth in the
Danish economy,' he said.
Both Denmark's central bank, Nationalbanken, and the
government have predicted that Denmark's economy will grow by
0.5 percent this year.
(Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)
Keywords: DENMARK CONSUMERS/
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