Consumer confidence in the U.K. saw an unexpected improvement in August, nearly reversing the drop experienced in July. This signals that the pressures on household spending may be easing as inflation begins to tick down. The survey, conducted by consumer-research firm GfK, revealed that confidence among consumers rose five points to minus 25 this month, compared to minus 30 in July. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had expected the level to remain at minus 30.
Factors Contributing to the Increase
Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director at GfK, attributed the regained momentum in consumer confidence to falling inflation, higher interest rates, and rising weekly earnings. In July, headline inflation eased to 6.8% from 7.9% in June, while core inflation remained flat, excluding volatile food and energy prices. Additionally, average weekly earnings outpaced the inflation rate in the three months leading up to June, rising by 7.8% year-on-year.
Positive Across All Components
All five components measured in the survey showed an improvement compared to July. Respondents' feelings about their personal financial situation and the wider economy for the next 12 months were notably higher as well. This positive trend indicates a consistently improving confidence level, which has been steadily rising since hitting record lows last year. In June, the index came in at minus 24.
Outlook for the Future
Although the index remains negative overall, the outlook for consumers' personal financial situations in the coming year is moving towards positive territory. This is a crucial indicator of households' future financial positions. Staton mentioned that while the financial pulse of the nation is still weak, these signs of optimism are welcome during this challenging time for consumers across the U.K.