UK consumers marginally more upbeat in August

British consumer morale improved slightly in August but remained subdued overall as households became gloomier about their finances, a survey showed yesterday.

The monthly consumer confidence index from pollster YouGov and consultancy Cebr rose to 107.6 from 107.2 in July, aided by an increase in its measures of job security and house prices.

But UK consumers’ perception of household finances worsened for the fifth month in a row, the longest run since YouGov records started eight years ago.

The Brexit vote in June 2016 led to a big fall in the value of sterling, which has pushed up inflation, gnawing at consumers’ disposable income this year.

The UK’s recent general election, in which Prime Minister Theresa May gambled away a parliamentary majority, has added to a sense of uncertainty among the British public.

“Although this month’s consumer confidence figures bring good news, they have to be placed in context — they have not yet returned to where they were ahead of the election,” said YouGov analyst Stephen Harmston.

Other measures of UK consumer confidence have also fallen this year.

While the Bank of England expects British trade and business investment to largely counter the slowdown in consumer confidence, neither of these things contributed to Britain’s economic growth in the second quarter.

The country’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirmed on Thursday that the British economy grew by 0.3% in the second quarter after a 0.2% rise in the first quarter.

This added up to the slowest growth for any major advanced economy since the start of 2017.

Reuters

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