UK consumers turn more confident after December dip
LONDON – British consumer confidence showed its biggest monthly improvement since last summer in January, a latest sign that the Brexit vote has yet to unsettle the households who are driving Britain’s economy, a survey showed on Friday.
After falling in December, the YouGov/Cebr Consumer Confidence Index rose 2 points to 110.3 in January, its biggest increase since August and its highest level since September.
The improvement reflected a better outlook for house prices, businesses and household finances, YouGov and Cebr said. Only the survey’s gauge of job security fell this month.
The figures come a day after official data showed Britain’s economy kept up its robust pace of growth in the fourth quarter of 2016, meaning there has been no slowdown at all since the June 23 vote to leave the European Union.
Still, Cebr, a business consultancy, said it was cautious about how long the buoyant mood among consumers would last.
“Inflation is picking up and the rising cost of living could start to erode consumer confidence, particularly if pay growth stays subdued,” said Cebr director Scott Corfe.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has said he will keep a close eye on how Britons spend their money this year, given the economy’s reliance on consumers. Their spending power is expected to be hurt by rising prices caused by the fall in the value of the pound after the Brexit vote.
The YouGov/Cebr survey is based on the responses of around 6,000 consumers each month. -Reuters