UK consumer confidence slides to 11-month low ahead of Brexit
London — British consumers' confidence fell to its lowest level in almost a year as their view of the economic outlook for the next 12 months sank to its weakest since shortly after 2016's Brexit vote, a survey showed on Thursday.
The GfK consumer sentiment index fell to -13 in November from -10 in October, the lowest reading since December 2017 and below economists' average forecast in a Reuters poll.
While spending from consumers fuelled robust economic growth in mid-2018, helped by a hot summer and the Fifa World Cup, GfK's report adds to signs the economy is slowing ahead of Britain's exit from the EU in March 2019.
Bank of England data earlier on Thursday showed the weakest consumer borrowing growth in more than three years.
Earlier in November, Prime Minister Theresa May agreed a Brexit divorce deal in principle with the EU, but she faces broad opposition from MPs in her own party and outside, which has shaken investors' confidence in Britain.
All the components in Thursday's survey dropped, including a steep fall in major purchase intentions — something that bodes poorly for retailers in the run-up to the crucial Christmas holiday trading season.
Consumers' confidence in the economy over the next 12 months fell to its lowest level since shortly after the Brexit vote, one of the weakest readings since the global financial crisis.
"The next few weeks are highly unlikely to inject any festive cheer, especially if Theresa May's Brexit deal doesn't win backing from MPs," GfK client strategy director Joe Staton said.
The British parliament is due to vote on the deal on December 11. GfK's survey of 2,003 Britons was conducted on behalf of the European Commission and took place between November 1 and 15.