British consumer confidence slips to four-month low in April
LONDON – British consumers were their most gloomy in four months in April as they weighed up the outlook for the economy and their finances ahead of Brexit and June’s general election.
Market research firm GfK’s measure of consumer morale slipped to -7 from -6 in March, in line with the median forecast by economists polled by Reuters.
Still, the survey showed consumer confidence remained robust by historical standards, which may reassure policymakers who are watching to see how a recent rise in inflation is affecting household spending, the main driver of the economy.
GfK said it had not seen any evidence that consumers were turning a lot more downbeat but it highlighted pessimism about the economic outlook.
Prime Minister Theresa May pitched her surprise announcement of a June 8 national election as a chance to strengthen her hand in talks on leaving the European Union. But the economic outlook is likely to figure strongly in the political debate during the weeks ahead.
“For the moment, consumer sentiment remains relatively buoyant as we enter our two-year window of renegotiation and navigate the run-up to the general election,” Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK, said.
Official figures due at 0830 GMT are expected to show Britain’s economic growth slowed in the first three months of this year to a quarterly pace of around 0.4 percent, compared with 0.7 percent at the end of 2016. -Reuters