UK consumer morale hits 16-month high as post-election bounce continues

LONDON, Jan 31 (Reuters) – Confidence among British consumers in January touched the highest level since September 2018, bolstering other signs of a post-election bounce in the economy since last month’ election, a survey showed Friday.

Market research firm GfK said its index of consumer confidence rose -9 in January from -11 in December, as expected in a Reuters poll of economists.

The survey chimed with other gauges of the economy that point to a pick-up since the Dec. 12 election in which Prime Minister Boris Johnson secured a big majority in parliament, removing some of the uncertainty hanging over businesses.

Signs of optimism among companies consumers dissuaded the Bank of England on Thursday from cutting interest rates, and its officials cited the European Commission’s gauge of consumer morale for December, which is based on the GfK survey.

“The latest measures concerning our personal financial situation … are encouragingly healthy and positive, as is the improvement in our view of the wider economic picture for the UK,” Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK, said.

He noted that the major purchases index was the only part of the survey to fall in January, chiming with downbeat data from the retail sector.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken)

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