June 14, 2011 / 11:10 PM / 9 years ago

Consumer morale sees near-record jump in May - survey

People use escalators as they shop in a mall in London January 6, 2011. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

LONDON (Reuters) - Consumer confidence enjoyed one of its biggest jumps on record last month, a survey showed on Wednesday, providing a glimmer of hope that the recovery may get back on track.

Nationwide Building Society said its consumer confidence index rose to 55 in May from an upwardly revised 44 in April, moving further away from the all-time low of 40 hit in February.

The 11 point rise mirrors a similar jump in GfK NOP’s May confidence survey, and suggests unusually warm weather and a succession of bank holidays boosted consumer morale.

The expectations and spending indices both recorded increases on the month, although the improvement is from a low base and the overall confidence index is still nine points lower than at the same point last year.

Nationwide’s chief economist Robert Gardner said it was still too early to say whether consumer confidence was in a sustained recovery.

“There are still strong downward pressures, not least higher than hoped for inflation and continued concern around employment,” he said.

“We would need to see consumer confidence continue to rise over the coming months, for us to be able to say that the economic recovery is truly being felt by the British public.”

Reporting by Christina Fincher; editing by Ron Askew

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