31 October 2001, 08:23  UK consumer confidence fell in October

LONDON (MktNews) - UK consumer confidence fell in October to its lowest level since the fuel crisis last autumn, according to the latest GfK consumer confidence report published Wednesday.
The overall GfK consumer confidence index fell to -5 in October from -1 in September, the lowest reading since October 2000, according to the survey carried out on behalf of the European Commission.
The largest decline was seen in confidence in the future of the general economic situation, which fell by 13 points to stand at -33 in October. This was the lowest since 1990, when the UK economy was last in recession.
Although general economic expectations declined significantly, optimism on personal finances fell less markedly. The measure gauging perceptions of the development of personal finances stood at +3 in October from +6 in September, and remains one point above levels a year earlier.
This suggests that consumers do not intend to change their spending behaviour greatly, despite the continued global economic slowdown and their own gloomy outlook on the general economy.
Expectations for the future of personal finances also fell 3 points to +7, compared with +11 in October last year. Perceptions of the development of the general economic situation over the past twelve months improved slightly, with the index rising to -16 in October from -19 in the previous month.
The measure relating to the benefits of making major purchases in the current climate fell to +13 in October from +18 previously. However, the measure gauging whether consumers are likely to spend more on major purchases over the next 12 months rose by one point in October to stand at -2.
The survey also revealed that 61% of consumers expect unemployment to rise in the next 12 months. The measure gauging perceptions of the level of unemployment rose to +35 in October, the highest since December 1998. GfK commented that the rise was not surprising given the recent media reports of large-scales redundancies in some key sectors.

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