March consumer confidence holds steady despite Brexit fears

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March consumer confidence
// GfK Consumer Confidence Index for March held steady at -13
// Still much lower than -7 reading this time last year
// Sub-component indexes remained relatively stable

Consumer confidence remained in negative territory throughout March, although the figure was stable and still slightly better than what it was during the peak Christmas season.

The long-running GfK Consumer Confidence Index reading for March was -13, the same as February’s score and better than the -14 reading in December and January.

However, the latest index reading is a stark contrast to the -7 that was recorded in March last year.

Sentiment around the UK’s general economic situation during the last year stayed the same at -33, although this was seven points lower than the same time last year.

Meanwhile, the country’s expectations for the general economic situation over the coming year improved by two points to -36, 14 points lower than March 2018.

The personal finance index for the last year remained unchanged at zero, although this was still below the positive reading of 3 in March last year.

The major purchase index decreased four points 1, one point lower on a year-on-year basis.

Finally the savings index increased by two points in March to 20, seven points higher than at this time last year.“Consumer confidence has held steady this month at minus -13, despite political chaos and ensuing uncertainty as we try to find our rightful place within Europe,” GkK strategy director Joe Staton said.

“Against a backdrop of stable inflation and a robust labour market, where wages continue to grow more quickly than prices, confidence has remained negative but fairly stable since the referendum.

“However, while UK consumers report a small increase in optimism for their personal financial situation for the coming year, the index is being dragged down by our nagging fears for the general economy.

“Things might change when people feel the current crisis has passed but what sort of resolution can consumers reasonably contemplate just now? Or are consumers rightly sensing a bumpier economic climate for post-Brexit Britain?”

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