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UK Consumer Morale Up Slightly

Consumer morale in the UK rose slightly in August, but remains somewhat subdued as consumers seem to be still downcast about personal and household finances.

The latest monthly consumer confidence index from pollster YouGov and consultancy Cebr rose to 107.6 from 107.2 in the previous month of July.

An increase in property prices and the measurement of job security aided the slight rise in confidence, but consumers feelings about household finances became less optimistic for the fifth month in a row, marking the longest negative run since YouGov records began eight years ago.

The Brexit vote in 2016 has been partly blamed for a fall in sterling, which in turn has pushed up inflation in the UK, reducing the effective level of household disposable income.

The general election this year – which saw the government majority in parliament greatly reduced – has also harmed consumer confidence in the UK, bringing a feeling of uncertainty to the public across the country.

The Bank of England has stated that it expects trade and business investment to counter any slowdown in consumer confidence, however the evidence for this view has not been widely seen in the year so far.

It was recently confirmed by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) that the UK economy grew by just 0.3 per cent in the second quarter of the year, following a 0.2 per cent rise in the first quarter.

This marginal economy growth represents the slowest growth for any major advanced economy since the start of 2017 and has not helped consumer confidence in the UK.

YouGov analyst Stephen Harmston commented: ‘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.’

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