UK Consumers Exude Confidence In Latest Survey

LONDON: UK consumers remain undaunted about their financial prospects despite three interest rate rises in the last five months and the near certainty of more to come, according to the latest survey by market research group GfK for the European Commission, released Jan. 31. GfK said its confidence barometer jumped to "plus 8" in January from plus 1 in December. The reading was the highest since September 1997, when the UK was still basking in the warmth of post-election euphoria. GfK attributed the surprisingly large rise in its barometer reading to a usual jump in confidence each January -- the average increase over the past decade has been four points -- and that the fieldwork was completed on the day of the Bank of England's last rate rise. The overall confidence barometer is an amalgamation of five general questions about consumers' judgment and expectations about the general economy, their own finances, and their intentions to make large purchases. The latest survey found an increase in all of the component readings.

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