Consumer morale drops to lowest in six months

LONDON Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:46am GMT

A woman holds a set of golf clubs as she stands outside a former JJB sports store in Chorley, northern England, October 9, 2012. REUTERS/Phil Noble

A woman holds a set of golf clubs as she stands outside a former JJB sports store in Chorley, northern England, October 9, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Phil Noble

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LONDON (Reuters) - Consumer confidence fell to its lowest in six months in October, highlighting the fragility of Britain's recovery from recession, a survey by researchers GfK NOP showed on Wednesday.

The poll's headline index dipped to -30, the lowest since April when the country was in the middle of an economic slump. Analysts had forecast a steady reading of -28.

The latest figure contrasts with the official end of recession between July and September, when the economy grew 1 percent, partly helped by the London Olympics.

However, the GFK survey was conducted between October 5 and October 14, well before the Office for National Statistics published the strong growth number for the third quarter on October 25.

"The late summer boost in consumer sentiment has now faded. The government will be concerned that the economic bounce will follow a similar path and deflate during the autumn," said Nick Moon, managing director of social research at GfK.

"People are more worried about their own financial situation over the next 12 months. This certainly doesn't suggest there will be a spending boom on the back of the official emergence from recession," he added.

The government and the central bank are hoping that falling inflation and rising employment will allow Britons to increase spending and support the fragile economic recovery.

Britain's retailers reported an unexpected jump in sales in October and voiced some optimism about the business prospects ahead.

(Reporting by Olesya Dmitracova; editing by Ron Askew)

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