Consumer confidence remains five points lower year on year

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A long-running index measuring consumer confidence remained at the same level in January 2019 at -14, amid ongoing uncertainty over Brexit negotiations.

GfK’s UK Consumer Spending Index for January 2019 revealed that two of the five measures decreased in January, while two others decreased and one stayed at the same level.

The report, carried out by GfK on behalf of the European Commission, found that the forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months has increased two points to +1, or five points lower than January 2018, while the measure for the General Economic Situation of the country during the last 12 months has dropped four points to -35, six points lower than January 2018.

Expectations for the General Economic Situation over the next 12 months decreased one point to -39, or 15 points lower than January 2018, while the Major Purchase Index stayed at the same level in January 2019 at +2, one point higher than January 2018.

GfK client strategy director, Joe Staton, said: “With the Overall Index Score stuck at -14 this month, UK consumers remain in a ‘wait and see’ holding pattern in the face of political chaos in Westminster.

“Although we’re feeling slightly more confident about our personal finances – thanks to the effect of strong employment, low interest and inflation rates, and rising household incomes – concerns about the wider economic prospects for the country continue to weigh and depress the Overall Index Score.

“We have a -39 for ‘General Economic Situation over the next 12 months’ – the lowest for more than seven years and getting close to the levels we saw at the end of 2008 and in early 2009. This is unsurprising given that consumers, companies and corporations thrive on certainty, which is in short supply just two months before the planned date for the UK’s EU-exit. The next few months promise to be turbulent for the consumer so will this measure for the economic outlook in the coming year drop even further?”

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