A little sunshine amid the autumn confidence gloom


October’s Nationwide Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) reflects the slight pick up in the GfK CCB earlier in the month (up 1 point). The CCI rose 2 points to 58, down 23 points compared to October 2009, highlighting the uncertain economic recovery.


All three sub-indices rose for the first time since last April. Of most significance is the improvement in the Present Situations Index, up to its highest level in two years despite growing concerns about the impact of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR). Should such sentiment prevail in the next two months then a slide back into recession is unlikely.


Both the Expectations Index – up 2 points to 78 – and the Spending Index – up 4 points to 92 rose after sharp falls last month.


While more people currently believe and/or expect there to many/some jobs available in the coming months –the latter measure at its highest since last May - , the most gloomy indicator is of expected household income, falling back to close to its survey low of last July. This suggests weak Christmas and New Year sales volumes.


There is little indication of any rush to beat the VAT increase in January. Household goods spending confidence is little changed on the month while spending on major purchases such as a house or car, although higher in October following a steep decline in September is up, but much weaker than earlier in the year.


Although a brighter current situation, the outlook for the financial wellbeing of consumers remains very uncertain as the impact of the spending cuts announced in the CSR are yet to be reflected in sentiment data. With little or no improvement in household income, spending is set to remain subdued, with growth prospects revolving mainly around business investment – especially in jobs.


A full resume of the mood of the UK consumer is contained in the UK Consumer Confidence Monitor – the monthly guide to confidence inflation, jobs, spending, saving and financial well-being across a range of socio-economic and regional segments. Ring 0208 944 7510 / 07740 027968 or email info@jgfr.co.uk