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Firms feel confident in their prospects but consumer confidence slumps

Confidence in business prospects has risen to its highest level since April 2017, while consumer con..

By admin , in Money , at November 30, 2017

Confidence in business prospects has risen to its highest level since April 2017, while consumer confidence has dipped to the lows recorded in the wake of the Brexit vote, according to new figures out today.

Lloyds Bank’s business barometer for November found that business confidence dipped two points to 24 per cent, and economic optimism had fallen by nine to four per cent. However, the balance of firms reporting they were confident in their prospects rose by five points to 44 per cent, the highest since April.

Firms' hiring intentions also remained positive, with the net balance of those expecting to bolster headcount over the next year rising by four points to 28 per cent – a five month high.

Read more: Gloomy consumers see confidence at lowest level since Brexit vote

Hann-Ju Ho, senior economist for Lloyds Bank commercial banking, said: "Despite a slight dip in overall business confidence, the rise in business prospects suggests that firms are confident about their future, although the fall in economic optimism is an indication of economic and political uncertainties that lie ahead."

Meanwhile, a monthly survey conducted by GfK has found that UK consumer confidence is looking short on festive cheer, dipping two points in November, taking it to an overall rating of negative 12.

That put it back on par with the level recorded in the wake of the Brexit vote.

All five measures used to calculate the score dropped for the month, with the steepest fall recorded for major purchases. The index examines consumer spending and saving attitudes and behaviour as a means of assessing the economic outlook.

The major purchase index slipped six points for the month to negative three, eight points lower than the same month last year.

Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK, said:

This is the second time this year that consumer confidence has matched the worrying negative 12 score seen in July 2016 after the Brexit vote. This is also the 20th consecutive month where the overall index score has come in at a negative value – that’s not good festive news.

Household jitters following the recent interest rate hike, squeezed incomes, higher inflation, and economic uncertainty have dampened the consumer mood across the UK.

Read more: Transport for London blames Brexit for surprise fall in passenger numbers

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