“Generally, people are more optimistic in December as they get into the Christmas spirit. However, December 2008 was the exception to the rule, as Romanians were testing the bitter taste of recession, and their concerns over how the global crisis would impact their finances reflected in their outlook on the general economic situation over the coming 12 month,” said Otilia Man, senior researcher at GfK Romania.

The index measuring changes in personal finance during the last year has increased, with 57% of the respondents indicating a worsening of their financial situation compared to 61% in September-November.

30% of the respondents to the survey anticipate a deterioration in their personal finance over the next 12 months, versus 26% a year earlier.

More than three quarters of the respondents believe the economy has weakened markedly over the past 12 months, while 20% predict the country’s general economic condition will strengthen over the next year versus 26% a year earlier.

The outlook for inflation and labor marked drew a mixed reaction, with two thirds of the Romanians expecting price growth in 2010, versus 70% a year earlier. 78% of the respondents expect the unemployment rate to rise further into 2010, compared to 85% in December 2008.

57% of the surveyed said they won’t make any major durables purchases over the next 12 years, due to the poor climate, same as a year earlier.

The “now is time to save” index remained poor in December, with 78% of the Romanians saying it is a very bad time to save, and 20% saying they are burdened with debt.

The GfK Consumer Confidence Survey from GfK was conducted among a sample of 1,000 individuals aged at least 15. The survey is co-financed by the European Commission and carried on a monthly basis by GfK.