A cooler May
Following the spectacular improvement in April, moods cooled down slightly among Polish consumers in May – the TNS Consumer Index dropped by 3.5 points vs. April, and has currently settled at 6.3 points. This is still a favourable outcome, and not far from the values from the early days of 2018.
May is a time of leisure for Poles. The month commenced with an extraordinarily long May bank holiday, which most of us spent relaxing. Furthermore, this year's May concludes with the feast of Corpus Christi, which extends the final weekend of the month as well. However, the " Zofiówka" mine disaster also happened this May ,with 5 miners dying in the accident. May this year was also the time of a protest, staged by disabled people in the Sejm (the lower house of the Polish parliament), which continues to this day despite talks with the government. One of the demands involves a PLN 500 monthly benefit for adult disabled people, but the government refuses to concede.
This situation has polarised public opinion, which has certainly affected consumer moods, manifesting itself in a significant drop on the index that reflects the status of the economy: from 10 points in April to 4.5 in May. Furthermore, the recent favourable views on Poland’s general economic situation decreased by 4 percentage points, settling at 17% this month. The percentage of consumers who believe that the current status of the economy is worse than it was a year ago has increased as well (by 3 pp., to 17%), as did the share of consumers who predict that the situation is going to deteriorate even further in a year from now (23% this month vs 19% in April). This shows that the recent favourable reports concerning the levels of basic economic indexes did not impress consumers, who assess the situation from the point of view of the current socio-economic tensions rather than favourable economic growth.
Looking at the strained state of affairs at the Sejm, it seems safe to assume that if the situation is resolved to the benefit of the disabled protesters, the indexes mentioned above are likely to grow again.