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A closely-watched gauge of consumer confidence in the UK eased a touch during April, but remained relatively stable – albeit in negative territory.
The consumer confidence index produced by research house GfK slipped one point to minus 7 this month, but in line with economists’ forecasts.
Only one of the survey’s five measures – the major purchase index – saw an increase during the month. All others, encompassing personal finances and general economic situation over the past and next 12 months, declined. The savings measure, which does not feed into the overall index score, rose.
Joe Staton, GfK’s head of market dynamics, said:
In the face of widespread reports of rampant inflation, stagnating wages and anxiety over our borrowing binge, UK consumer confidence is surprisingly stable. Although the Overall Index Score remains in negative territory, and has dipped this month, we have not seen any evidence of the predicted post-Trigger downturn, despite high levels of concern about the general economic situation of the country.
Mr Staton questions, though, whether some of that relative stability is too good to be true:
Is this simply the calm before the storm? Is pre-Brexit economic turbulence yet to really batter households? That threat cannot be ruled out. But 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.