Consumer confidence falls amid political uncertainty

Consumer confidence has fallen as ongoing political uncertainty impacts upon the forecast for personal finances, according to a survey.

Confidence fell by two points to minus 14 in October amid “too many Brexit shifts and surprises”, the long-running GfK Consumer Confidence Index suggests.

All five measures of confidence for the survey recorded a fall, including a notable three point drop in the forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months – taking it to three points lower than this time last year.

Source: GfK
Source: GfK

Expectations for the general economic situation over the next year decreased two points to minus 37, nine points lower than last October.

Meanwhile the major purchase index, an indicator of confidence in buying big-ticket items, fell two points to positive one – three points lower than a year ago.

Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK, said: “Importantly, the ongoing machinations in Westminster appear to be impacting how we view our personal financial situation for the coming year, with a notable fall of three points in this measure in October.

Source: GfK
Source: GfK

“This deterioration in sentiment regarding our personal financial affairs is worrying as strong consumer spending has been the main driver of economic growth since the referendum in 2016 against a backdrop of low inflation, low interest rates, low wage growth and high employment.

“Nobody wants to see consumer spending reduce and let’s hope it doesn’t happen. But Brexit’s continuing uncertainty and the spectre of a general election is not helpful.

“People can only feel confident if they believe the external environment is stable, yet consumers are witnessing too many Brexit shifts and surprises, too many Brexit timelines and counter-proposals to justify any longer-term confidence.”

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