Beth Ashmead-Latham 29 Mar 2018 03:36pm

Consumer confidence at highest in nearly a year

UK consumer confidence increased in this month alongside a minor dip in business confidence

Despite remaining in negative territory, confidence has improved for a third month, rising three points to -7 – its highest point since May 2017, according to market researcher GfK’s consumer confidence score.

This reflects an improvement across all indicators covering personal finance, the general economy, major purchase index and the savings index.

GfK’s head of experience innovation, Joe Stone, said this could partly be due to the prospect of wage rises finally outstripping declining inflation, high levels of employment with low-level interest rates, and movement on Brexit.

“It’s still a little early to be talking about green shoots, and the core score is of course still negative, but this is definitely a movement in the right direction,” he said.

At the same time, Lloyds Business Bank published its Business Confidence Index, revealing that overall business confidence has dropped one point to 32%.

The same report showed a three-point drop in economic confidence in March, although confidence for the overall quarter has increased to 33% from 26% in Q4 2017.

It suggests that the December agreement on the first round of Brexit negotiations made companies more positive about the impact of leaving the EU will have on their business.

Last month, ICAEW released its business confidence monitor, which revealed an increase from -3.4 in Q4 last year to -1 this quarter.