UK consumer morale sinks to six-month low in November

FILE PHOTO: A man wears a mask as he walks along a deserted street amid the coronavirus outbreak in Manchester, Britain, March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Phil Noble

LONDON (Reuters) - British consumer morale sank to a six-month low in November as a second coronavirus lockdown prompted a surge in pessimism over households’ finances, a survey showed on Friday.

The consumer confidence index from market research firm GfK fell to -33 from -31 in October. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a reading of -34.

The survey’s gauge of personal finances over the last year slid to its lowest level since December 2013.

“This will deal a blow to any future rebound because bullish consumer spending fuels the UK economy and low confidence is the enemy of recovery,” Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK, said.

The survey added to other signs of a deteriorating economy that prompted a new round of support from the government and Bank of England this month for businesses and workers.

The economy grew by a slower than expected 1.1% in September, lagging other rich nations as it struggled to recover from the shock of the pandemic even before the latest COVID-19 lockdown.

“The second lockdown couldn’t have come at a worse time for the UK’s high-street retailers and it’s no surprise that our major purchase sub-measure is once again mired deep in negative territory,” Staton said.

Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken