United Kingdom: Consumer pessimism decreases marginally in February
The GfK consumer confidence indicator rose to minus 13 points in February from minus 14 points in January. The index therefore remained in negative territory, where it has been since April 2016, highlighting that consumers are broadly pessimistic.
February’s reading was underpinned by a rise in consumers’ willingness to make major purchases, and an improvement in their perception of the general economic situation over the past 12 months and in the next 12 months. Consumers had unchanged perspectives of their personal financial situation in February.
Going forward, consumer sentiment is unlikely to see a significant improvement until the cloud of uncertainty currently surrounding the Brexit withdrawal process is lifted. Assuming a no-deal Brexit is avoided, reduced political uncertainty and a recovery in real wages could boost consumer sentiment and support private consumption in 2019.