Britain getting more confident about growth

THE BRITISH economy was the most upbeat of any major European country in July, shooting upward in the past month, official EU statistics show.

And GfK’s consumer confidence barometer for the UK also recorded a strong upswing, rising to minus 16, its highest level since April 2010.

Though the measure is still negative, it has risen by 11 points in the quarter.

The European Commission said the UK’s economic sentiment was topped only by Malta and Croatia this month.

The UK posted a score of 104.2 in the commission’s economic sentiment index (ESI). Any score over 100 suggests that the economic climate is more favourable than the long-term average.

The UK’s score jumped by 6.9 points between June and July, with improvements in every sector.

“Hopefully, markedly improved confidence, in tandem with elevated employment, will underpin solid consumer spending over the coming months, which is critical if the economy is to sustain and build on its recent improvement,” said Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight.

The average score for the Eurozone rose by 1.2 points in the same period, reaching 92.5 this month. The euro area’s economic sentiment is now at a 15-month high, but analysts remained pessimistic. “[W]hile it is encouraging to see that confidence is moving in the right direction, there is still a long way to go before we can realistically suggest that ‘animal spirits’ have returned,” said ING’s Martin van Vliet.

The Spanish economy’s continued recession was also confirmed yesterday, with GDP down 0.1 per cent in the second quarter, compared to the first.