UK Consumer Confidence Plunges in October as Covid-19 Second Wave Takes Hold
By Xavier Fontdegloria
Consumer sentiment in the U.K. tumbled in October, erasing gains
from the last four months, amid the rise of coronavirus infections
across the country and renewed restrictions to contain them, data
published Friday showed.
A measure of consumer confidence compiled by German market
research firm GfK fell to minus 31 in October, six points less
compared with the minus 25 registered the prior month.
The reading misses forecasts from economists polled by The Wall
Street Journal, who expected consumer sentiment to fall to a lesser
degree and come in at minus 27.
The index currently stands close to the lowest level of the
pandemic reached in April and May of minus 34, amid a first wave in
infections that prompted the implementation of a stringent
Despite low inflation, rock-bottom interest rates, a buoying
housing market and a raft of government financial stimulus
measures, the prospect of rising unemployment is severely
depressing the outlook, said Joe Staton, client strategy director
All five indexes that make up the barometer fell in October
compared to the prior month, particularly the assessment of the
general economic situation both for the last year and the upcoming
one. The major purchase index, which gauges demand among shoppers,
also fell, along with a slight decline in Britons' outlook about
their personal financial situation.
"There's a worrying threat of a double-dip in consumer
confidence as concerns for our personal financial situation and
even deeper fears over the state of the U.K. economy drag the index
down six points this month," Mr. Staton said.
The survey, which is conducted on behalf of the E.U., polled
2,000 individuals between Oct. 1 and 14, before the latest
restrictions designed to stem Covid-19 infections came into force
and the furlough program ended.
These two factors will negatively impact the index in the run-up
to Christmas and the months beyond, Mr. Staton said. "Expect the
autumn chill to give way to much stormier conditions."
Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 22, 2020 19:15 ET (23:15 GMT)
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