A closely watched gauge of Argentina consumer confidence rose for the first time in five months in May, according to a report published this week by Torcuato di Tella University, UTDT.
The university said consumer confidence posted gains across all income segments and in all regions of the country. UTDT said its consumer confidence index rose 5.9% from April to 46.43, but was down 16.4% from May 2011.
It was the index's lowest level since April 2010. The index hit an all-time high of 60.97 in January 2007.
Recent economic data point to a sharp slowdown in the Argentine economy, which grew 8.9% last year. The controversial national statistics agency, Indec, said earlier this week that manufacturing activity contracted 0.5% in April.
Headwinds from foreign exchange and import controls, double-digit inflation, and less robust demand for Argentine products in Brazil suggest the economy will grow at a more modest pace in 2012.
UTDT said its measure of consumers' personal situation rose 2.7% on the month to 52.12, but was still down 12.9% from a year ago. Consumers' outlook for the economy rose 13.4% from April to 44.35, and was down 20.5% from a year ago.
Argentines' willingness to buy real estate and durable goods increased 2.8% from April to 42.81, but was 16.2% lower than May 2011, according to the university.
The survey of 1,195 people was conducted May 2-15 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points, according to UTDT.