UK consumer confidence edges up but still close to record low

Economy illustrations in London
A woman shops for food items at a market stall in London, Britain, September 27, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

LONDON, Dec 16 (Reuters) - British consumer confidence crept up this month but is still close to all-time low levels as households see their incomes eroded by high inflation, market research firm GfK said on Friday.

GfK's monthly consumer confidence index, which dates back to 1974, rose in December to -42 from November's -44. It touched a record low -49 in September.

December's reading was the highest since July and the third consecutive monthly improvement in the index.

Nonetheless, Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK, said the eight months of readings at -40 or worse was the first time such a run had occurred in the survey's nearly 50-year history and added to signs of recession.

"The outlook for our personal financial situation over the next 12 months - perhaps the key metric as we enter a new year – is stuck at -29, and concerns about our economic future remain acute," Staton said.

"With scant seasonal joy at present and no immediate prospect of fiscal good news, it is unlikely we will see a rebound in confidence anytime soon," he added.

Britain's official budget forecasters warned last month of a record erosion in living standards, despite government schemes to limit the surge in energy bills caused by the war in Ukraine

GfK conducted its poll of 2,000 people between Nov. 30 and Dec. 9.

Reporting by William Schomberg; editing by David Milliken

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