UK consumer confidence reaches five-month high in January – GfK

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SHAFAQNA – British consumer morale jumped by more than expected in January to reach a five-month high, possibly signalling a change in mood that might help Prime Minister David Cameron in elections in May, a survey by polling company GfK showed.

The survey’s headline index rose to +1 in January, matching the highs hit in mid-2014 and up from December’s nine-month low of -4. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a smaller rise to -2.

All the main measures of consumer confidence rose, chiming with other surveys and data over the last week that have shown Britons were happy to spend freely.

The major purchases index of the survey rose to +5, its highest since June 2007, and optimism among Britons about their personal financial outlook rose to its highest level since August.

“With less than 100 days before the election, this big jump in the Index will be very welcome news for the government,” said Nick Moon, managing director of social research at GfK, before warning against reading too much into January’s strong reading.

“If next month sees another rise, that will definitely signal good news for the government but, if not, it will suggest that the growth in GDP is not making people feel better off.”

The ruling Conservative Party hopes Britain’s economic growth will persuade voters to return it to power in May’s election. The opposition Labour party says years of stagnant wages and rising prices have left many Britons with a cost-of-living crisis.

* The GfK survey was conducted between Jan. 1 and Jan. 16 on behalf of the European Commission.

Source : Reuters.com

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