New Delhi: Consumer sentiments in India fell marginally last month, offsetting January's rise as consumers reported a further deterioration in their personal finances and saw little hope of a turnaround, says a report.
The MNI India Consumer Sentiment Indicator fell to 108.9 in February from 109.8 in January. While the sentiment remained above the 100 level, meaning optimists still outnumber pessimists, it stands 7.4 per cent below last year's average, the report by Deutsche Borse said.
"The MNI India Consumer Survey shows that not all is well with the Indian economy, with household finances under extreme pressure along with a poor outlook for business conditions," the report said.
Respondents' assessment of household finances worsened, with the current measure falling to a series low of 96.2.
"This is the first time in the history of the survey that the indicator has fallen below the 100 mark, as pessimists outnumbered optimists," the report said.
The report however said, despite the wavering confidence in household finances and the general economy, households have been relatively upbeat about the purchasing environment.
The Durable Buying Conditions Indicator, which measures consumers' willingness to purchase a large household good, rose to 114, 1.2 per cent above last February and 2.6 per cent above the series average.
"The more upbeat GDP data jars with our own surveillance on how consumers on the ground are feeling. Household finances are under significant pressure and respondents remain downbeat about the economy in general," MNI Indicators Chief Economist Philip Uglow said.
"A likely cut in interest rates from the RBI could help to boost sentiment, although previous moves have only had a short-term upward impact. Meanwhile, the additional tax on services will only serve to dampen spirits further," he added.
The report further noted that optimistic views on the buying environment contrast sharply with the perception of the business environment.
The report said that fewer respondents expected conditions to improve in long term.