UK consumer confidence rises in February
Surprises can be good. UK consumer confidence, which has hit record lows for so long, actually jumped in February, albeit still in negative territory.
GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index increased seven points this month to -38 and all five accompanying measures in the index were also up compared to the January.
So why? Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director, GfK gave his view: “Despite widely reported headwinds of inflation continuing to outstrip wage rises, and the ongoing household challenge from the cost-of-living crisis, consumers have suddenly shown more optimism about the state of their personal finances and the general economic situation, especially for the coming year.
“Are people simply fed up with hearing bad news? Do they see a milder recession than the pundits predicted? Do they sense the most worrying phase of the energy crisis is over?”
Those questions may all be answered in the coming months and “while it's too early to talk about ‘green shoots of recovery’, the uptick across all measures should be welcomed,” he added.
Although the headline consumer confidence score is still severely depressed and the mood, as well as the economy, remain a long way off pre-lockdown levels, a little consumer resilience might be what we need to soften any downturn in 2023.
The overall figures for February at least give a glimmer of hope.
The index measuring changes in personal finances during the last 12 months increased five points to -26, still 15 points worse than February 202,2 while the forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months increased nine points to -18, which is four points lower than this time last year.
The measure for the general economic situation of the country during the last 12 months was up six points at -65, some 15 points lower than last February.
Expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months were up 11 points to -43, the same score as February 2022.
Meanwhile, the Major Purchase Index was up three points to -37, some 22 points lower than this month last year.
And the Savings Index was up five points this month at +19, five points higher than this time last year.
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