Consumer confidence tumbles as Brexit uncertainty continues to rise

GfK Consumer Confidence Index falls from -3 to -8, registering declines in every sub-category in November.

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British consumers' confidence fell in November amid increasing uncertainty over the outcome of Britain's decision to leave the European Union, a survey released on Wednesday (30 November) showed.

GfK's Consumer Confidence Index tumbled from -3 to -8 this month, falling below expectations for a -4 reading and registering a decline in every sub-category. Forecast for the general economic situation over the next 12 months fell by five points in November and the sub-index is now 16 points lower than it was in the corresponding period last year, while expectations for personal finances over the coming year fell by four points.

Meanwhile, the general economic situation gauge over the past year dropped six points, leaving it 19 points lower than at this time last year.

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"Although scores for our personal financial situation just about remain positive, the big theme is the reduced confidence in the UK economy looking back and ahead," said Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK.

"We are viewing our economy over the past 12 months with increasing despondency."

Staton added the decreasing score on the economy for the next 12 months showed Britons "are resolutely gloomy about the outlook, despite strong GDP numbers".

Ongoing economic turmoil, inflationary pressures and global anxiety have dented people's confidence in the economic outlook over the five months since the Brexit vote, despite the resilience showed by the British economy in the aftermath of the June referendum.

"Many are saying that fears about the British economy have been overstated, but time will tell if the pessimism shown in the index is misplaced or not," Staton explained.

The survey interviewed 2,039 people during the first half of November.

Conversely, a survey released earlier this week showed optimism about the labour market triggered a modest rise in UK consumer confidence in November. The YouGov/Centre for Economic and Business Research consumer confidence index rose to 109.4 from 109.1 in October, recording the smallest gain in eight months and remaining well short of the 113.6 score recorded before the EU referendum in May.

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