UK consumer confidence ‘edges up’

British consumer morale in December edged up from a six-month low in November, but households remain more worried about the economy than they were at the end of last year, a survey showed.

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Market research firm GfK said its monthly consumer sentiment indicator rose to +2 in December from +1 in November, marginally stronger than a median forecast of +1 in a Reuters poll of economists.

“This is the first time since the Consumer Confidence Barometer started in 1974 that the Index has remained positive for an entire calendar year,” Joe Staton, Head of Market Dynamics at GfK, said.

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But optimism about the economy over the next 12 months was stuck at its lowest level since July 2013 at -6. In December of last year, the reading was a slightly less weak -5.

Mr Staton said he was unable to comment on the reasons for the weak outlook.

Britain was the world’s fastest-growing big, developed economy last year and has grown more quickly than most of its peers again in 2015. But while earnings are rising faster than almost non-existent inflation, growth in pay is much slower than it was before the financial crisis.

The GfK survey showed consumers were a bit less willing to spend on big-ticket items than in November.