Consumer confidence in economy 'way below' last year, report says


Consumer confidence remains gloomy in a reflection of persistent doubts about the economy, according to a report.

Confidence in the economy remains "way below" last year, almost certainly as a result of "Brexit gremlins", the GfK Consumer Confidence Index suggests.

The index increased two points from April, when it dropped into negative territory for the first time in 15 months, but remains at minus 1.

The measure for the general economic situation of the country during the last 12 months has increased by one point this month to minus 13, or 14 points lower than this time last year.

Expectations for the coming year have increased by one point to minus 13 this month, a drop of 13 points in 12 months.

However consumers feel more positive about their personal finances than they did in May last year, and the forecast for the next year has remained at 7, four points higher than a year ago.

Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK, which carried out the study on behalf of the European Commission, said: "Despite May's brave attempt at a recovery with the overall index rising two points from April, we remain in the gloomy world of negative territory this month at  minus 1.

"Despite the tiny uptick this month, our confidence in economic matters, whether we look back or ahead 12 months, remains way below last year.

"Is it because the Brexit gremlins are hard at work? Almost certainly yes. How will that all change when the EU referendum has taken place on June 23rd? We all wish we knew the answer to that question."