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Happiest people on earth are set to spend most in over a decade

[COPENHAGEN] Danes are on course to spend at the fastest pace in 12 years after more than half a decade of negative interest rates.

The nation that has dominated the UN's world happiness rankings since they were created in 2012 is growing more optimistic, according to a gauge of consumer confidence published on Tuesday. The index reached its highest level since July last year, according to Statistics Denmark.

Tore Stramer, chief economist at Nykredit, says Tuesday's numbers suggest a spending rush. That follows the longest spate of negative interest rates the world has ever seen. Denmark, which uses monetary policy to peg the krone to the euro, first pushed its main rate below zero in mid-2012.

"We may not quite be about to enter a definite spending party," Mr Stramer said in a client note. That's not altogether bad, seeing as the last time spending reached similar heights was in 2006, much of which was based on borrowed money, he said.

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The rise in consumer optimism also comes amid Danish labor shortages, which the government is trying to address through incentives to join the workforce, such as lower taxes.

According to Mr Stramer, the reversal in global stock markets during the first two weeks of the month did little to influence the Danes, who unlike their Swedish counterparts have only limited investments in shares.

BLOOMBERG

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