LONDON, April 16 British households feel under
the least financial pressure in more than five years, due to
lower inflation and the prospect of higher wages, a monthly
survey showed on Wednesday.
Financial data company Markit said its Household Finance
Index rose to 43.1 in April from 41.9 in March, reaching its
highest level since the survey started in February 2009.
While the index has risen markedly over the past few months,
the mood was still pessimistic overall, with any reading below
50 representing households feeling worse off.
The survey came out a day after official data showed that
consumer price inflation sank to a four-year low of 1.6 percent
in March. Markit said lower inflation was a major reason behind
the improvement in households' outlook.
"Easing the strain on household budgets was the slowest rise
in prices paid for goods and services since the end of 2009,
while future inflation expectations similarly weakened," said
Markit economist Jack Kennedy.
Households did not report higher earnings, but did describe
more workplace activity, which Markit said pointed towards
future wage rises.
Official wage growth figures, due for release at the same
time as the Markit numbers, are expected to show a 1.8 percent
annual rise in average weekly earnings in the three months to
February. This would be the first time wages have outpaced
inflation since April 2010.
(Reporting by David Milliken; editing by Keiron Henderson)