March 24, 2023 00:01 GMT
Consumer Confidence Edges Up, Remains Bleak
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UK MAR CONSUMER CONFIDENCE -36 (= FCST); FEB -38UK consumer confidence edged up by two points to -36 in March (in line with expectations) after the solid seven-point improvement in February. Despite recent improvements, all sub-indices remain severely depressed.
- This implies that spending will remain pressured in the near term against the current economic backdrop of persistently high inflation and high interest rates.
- Some tentative signs of improvement were seen in the major purchase index, which was back around April 2022 levels (albeit also remaining deeply negative and thus unlikely to translate into actual spending for now).
- In line with this, UK February retail sales due at 0700 GMT are likely to only have been modest. Consensus is looking for +0.2% m/m, remaining contractive at around -4.8% y/y.
- The BOE's March minutes reiterated that UK GDP is expected to decline by -0.1% in Q1, with household consumption to remain subdued.