UK consumer morale falls thanks to inflation
The report by market research firm GfK pointed to increased financial pressure on households in the year ahead and added to signs that consumer spending - the driving force behind Britain's economy over the last few years - is starting to wilt as price pressures mount.
GfK's monthly consumer sentiment index edged down to -6 from -5 in January, in line with forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists. For a second month running, Britons became less enthusiastic about splashing out on major purchases.
"Any momentum behind the post-Brexit, debt-fuelled, consumer spending boom now appears to be softening," said Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK.
The Bank of England forecasts household incomes will cease growing in inflation-adjusted terms later this year, and says it will keep a close eye on the extent to which households will seek to bridge the gap by borrowing more. ■