Consumer confidence remained unchanged in February at -26, the first time in more than a year that the index has reached that height for two consecutive months, it has been announced today.
While the overall index maintained January’s level, consumer confidence towards personal finances over the past 12 months and the next 12 months improved over the period, according to the GfK/NOP Consumer Confidence Index.
As the index measuring sentiment in personal finances during the last 12 months increased four points to -20, up one point on the same month a year earlier, the forecast over the next 12 months rose two points to -5, a further one point rise on February 2012.
Nick Moon, Managing Director of Social Research at GfK said of the findings: “This is the first time for over a year that there have been two consecutive months with the Index as high as -26, and while an unchanged figure may not seem very good news, the maintenance of all of last month’s three point gain is encouraging.
“Even if the Index holds steady for a few more months, it is better to be steady at -26 than at -29, where it was for a year.
“Consumers may be regaining their breath before moving on to a new base camp in the ascent towards the -9 that is the overall average of the Index across its almost 40 year life.”
In terms of sentiment towards the general economic situation, the measure for the last 12 months has declined one point to -52, though this remains eight points higher than during the same period last year.
Expectations in the general economic situation over the coming 12 months has remained steady at -25, up four points on last February.
However, experts have warned that the results reveal that confidence may be flatlining.
Martin Beck, UK Economist at analyst firm Capital Economics, noted: February’s unchanged level of consumer confidence is consistent with evidence from the CBI’s Distributive Trades survey that the consumer sector is lacking momentum.
“Whether last week’s credit rating downgrade might knock confidence is debatable, but the economy’s general malaise suggests any marked rebound is unlikely soon.”