Consumer confidence unexpectedly fell to a three-month low in March as Britons grew increasingly worried about the outlook for their finances and for the economy as a whole, denting hopes of a consumer-fuelled recovery.
The headline consumer confidence index, based on a survey by GfK NOP, fell to -31 in March from -29 in February, the lowest since December and confounding expectations for a modest improvement to -28.
The figures will make worrying reading for the Bank of England, which had been hoping that a recovery in consumer demand later this year would help drive Britain’s economic recovery. They are also likely to reopen the debate over whether the central bank will need to inject more stimulus to boost growth.
The Bank of England is due to complete its latest bout of quantitative easing in May, rounding off 125 billion pounds of purchases since October.