Consumer confidence hits four-month low

Consumer confidence slipped to a four-month low in August as the economy remained in the doldrums, the monthly Nationwide survey showed - though the building society said it was a relief that the drop was not bigger.

Many big English cities were hit by their worst rioting in decades last month, and global economic uncertainty caused share prices to tumble, making the fall in the index to 48 from July's reading of 49 relatively modest.

"Further signs that the UK economy is struggling to gain momentum, disorder in a number of English cities and renewed turbulence in global financial markets would all have been expected to weigh down heavily on confidence during the month," said Nationwide economist Robert Gardner.

"The relative stability is probably a reflection of the already subdued level of confidence, rather than indicating resilience in the household sector," Gardner added.

The decline in the Nationwide index mirrors a relatively modest fall in the similar GfK NOP survey for August, which also hit a four-month low.

Nationwide forecast continued sluggish growth and subdued consumer sentiment for the months ahead.