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U.K. Consumer Confidence Falls Back to Decade-Low Levels in May

Consumer confidence in the United Kingdom fell back to the lowest level in a decade in May compared with the end of April, indicating that consumers remain gloomy despite the easing of some lockdown measures, data from GfK showed Friday.

The GfK consumer confidence barometer was at minus 34 in May, down one point compared with the reading two weeks earlier. The barometer has been roughly at the same low level since the last two weeks of March, when the nation entered a state of lockdown in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The marginal retreat of the barometer in the last two weeks shows that consumer confidence in the U.K. remains battered and bruised despite efforts at loosening restrictions, Joe Staton, GfK’s client strategy director, said in prepared remarks.

“With unemployment claims rising by the highest rate on record and warnings of a severe recession and possible tax hikes, the damage done by the coronavirus pandemic to the U.K. economic landscape has been laid bare,” Mr. Staton said.

Among the five subindexes that form the barometer, two of them increased, two others decreased and one remained unchanged, GfK data showed.

Britons’ assessment of their personal finances over the coming year were slightly higher, as was the major purchase index. A subindex gauging consumers’ views on their personal financial situation over last year remained unchanged, while two others gauging perceptions of the general economic situation, both over last year and in the next one, declined.

“Despite plans to get the country up and running, consumers feel we are not out of the woods yet. Confidence will remain fragile for some time and the possibility of another spike in Covid-19 cases as we adapt to the ‘new normal’ is an obvious danger,” Mr. Staton said.

The survey for the measurement was conducted between May 1 and May 14 among a sample of 2,000 individuals. GfK’s barometer is usually published monthly, but since March the report is released at fortnightly intervals to evaluate the impact of the U.K.’s coronavirus lockdown on consumer confidence.

The next release is expected on Friday, June 5.
Source: Dow Jones

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