UK consumer morale dips for first time in six months - GfK

LONDON Thu Oct 31, 2013 3:25am GMT

Shoppers cross Oxford Street in central London August 15, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Shoppers cross Oxford Street in central London August 15, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

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LONDON (Reuters) - British consumer confidence fell in October for the first time in six months, a survey showed on Thursday.

The drop, only the second this year, followed news that British households face a sharp jump in gas and electricity bills.

Market research company GfK's monthly consumer confidence index dipped to -11 from -10 in September, wrong-footing analysts who had expected a rise to -8.

The index remains nearly 20 points higher than a year ago, reflecting the recent strength of Britain's economic recovery.

"This may simply be a pause for breath. However ... it will be interesting to see if sentiment has run away with itself and there is a further drop next month," said Nick Moon, managing director of social research at GfK.

A breakdown by category showed Britons are more willing to consider big-ticket purchases but more downbeat about the outlook for the economy and their own finances.

The poll was conducted between October 4 and October 20, a period which saw some of the country's biggest energy providers announce price hikes of more than three times inflation.

The rising cost of gas and electricity has dominated Britain's political agenda at a time when living costs are rising significantly faster than wages.

(Reporting by Christina Fincher. Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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