Consumer spending drought will persist

CONSUMERS will continue to rein in spending this year due to a weak economic environment and rising unemployment, according to fund manager Alliance Trust.<br /><br />The firm said that the financial confidence of consumers showed an improvement for a second successive quarter in the last three months, as household budgets improved, but that the economic backdrop will continue to weigh on spending.<br /><br />The firm&rsquo;s Financial Reality Index, a measure of consumer wealth, rose to its highest level since the first quarter of 2008 in the last three months, as consumers they were managing their finances better.<br /><br />It rose to 66.8 in the second quarter, from 59.0, after falling continuously since mid-2007.