UK consumers turn a little more optimistic in December: GfK

LONDON (Reuters) – British consumer confidence inched higher in December as households became less pessimistic about their future financial situation after the squeeze from high inflation, a survey showed on Friday.

The GfK Consumer Confidence Index rose to -22 from -24 in November, in line with the consensus forecast in a Reuters poll of economists.

The index, which is not adjusted for seasonal variations, has shown a tendency to rise in December in recent years.

All five of the survey’s components rose with the outlook for personal finances inching closer towards positive territory.

“Recovery in this number is important as it best reflects household financial optimism and control over personal budgets,” said Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK.

“Despite the severe cost-of-living crisis still impacting most households, this slow but persistent movement towards positive territory for the personal finance measure looking ahead is an encouraging sign for the year to come.”

A separate consumer sentiment survey from LSEG and Ipsos on Thursday also showed a rise in December.

Britain’s economy has flat-lined through 2023 but earnings are now outpacing inflation again.

The Bank of England left interest rates on hold on Thursday and said the path for inflation, at least in the near-term, looked a little shallower than it had predicted in November.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by William Schomberg)