United Kingdom: Consumer confidence partly recovers from record low
April 15, 2011
In March, the seasonally adjusted consumer confidence index produced by Nationwide Building Society (NBS) added 5 points over the previous month, climbing to 44 points. The print followed on a sharp drop in February, which saw the index sink to its lowest level on record. Consequently, despite the moderate comeback, the index remains at levels comparable to those observed during the trough of the crisis at the beginning of 2009. That said, March's increase in consumer sentiment was driven by a more positive assessment of the outlook for the British economy in the next six months. Moreover, the rise reflected a less negative view on whether now is good time to make major purchases, although still more than 50% of the respondents believe it is a bad time to purchase major good goods, such as a house or a car. The NBS warned that it is unlikely that we will see a significant improvement in the coming months. It is far more likely that confidence will remain subdued for several months yet until the economy gains greater momentum. Weak consumer sentiment augurs ill for a more meaningful recovery in private consumption.