What economic crisis? UK consumer confidence jumps to 15-year high

 
Chris Papadopoullos
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UK consumers feel positive enough to splash out, but market chaos has given Janet Yellen pause for thought (Source: Getty)
Consumer confidence has jumped back to a 15-year high in the UK, according to a widely-regarded survey published this morning.

The positive numbers come on the back of upbeat data from the other side of the pond. American GDP grew at an annual pace of 3.7 per cent in the second quarter, official figures said yesterday – faster than the 2.3 per cent rate reported last month.

The data gave a bullish tone to the end of a week that has seen mayhem in global markets. Worries over the strength of China’s economy, and extreme volatility in the Asian country’s markets, has rocked share prices in the west. The uncertainty has made it unlikely that Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen (pictured right) will push for a hike in interest rates next month.

But equities in Europe and the US recovered more ground yesterday, with the FTSE 100 closing 3.6 per cent higher and the Dow Jones regaining 2.3 per cent.

German-based market research company GFK said today its consumer confidence index had edged up to a score of seven this month, equal to June’s 15-year high.

GFK’s index has spent most of the last six years in negative territory, bottoming out at minus 39 in July 2008.

Meanwhile, pollster YouGov said this morning that its confidence index ticked down to still-buoyant 114 in August from 114.2 in July. However, both surveys collected their data before this week’s extreme volatility on global markets.

Experts are split on whether the market wobbles will hit spending on the British high street.

“Unless it impacts you directly, with your mortgage going up or your house price dropping, it’s not going to impact sentiment – the UK economic news is incredibly strong,” Joe Staton at GFK told City A.M.

But YouGov chief Stephen Harmston aired caution. “If the third week in August is anything to go by we seem set for a decline in consumer confidence over the coming weeks. Previous major global economic events – such as the first Greek bail-out – have had an impact and the current stock market wobble seems to be having a similar impact now,” he said.

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