Business

Consumers 'more upbeat' despite Brexit uncertainty

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UK consumer confidence improved in July, according to new data which showed that Britons are feeling more optimistic about their finances.

Market research firm GfK said people were feeling more upbeat because of low unemployment and wage growth.

It also found consumers were less pessimistic about the economic outlook despite the ongoing Brexit uncertainty.

But GfK warned that optimism could be tested as the 31 October deadline for the UK leaving the EU nears.

The company reported that its consumer confidence gauge rose to minus 11 in July, an improvement on the minus 13 number recorded in June.

The number calculated remains negative but is in line with the long-term of average of minus 9, which predates the Brexit referendum.

GfK asked people in July how confident they were about a number of areas such as personal finance and the general economic situation

Boris effect?

"Consumers are marginally more bullish this month - with improvements in levels of confidence across most measures," said Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK.

As well as rising wages, new data also shows that food prices grew at a slower rate of 1.7% in July, compared with 1.8% in June.

Prices for non-food goods also dropped, down 1.2%, according to the British Retail Consortium and data company Nielsen.

But Mr Staton added: "The coming months to the 31 October departure date will test the strength of this confidence."

Capital Economics added that the GfK survey had been carried out before Boris Johnson became Prime Minister.

"As a result, confidence in the UK economy could be knocked in August's data due to rising concerns over a no deal Brexit. After all, the economic outlook balance has tended to follow the twists and turns of the Brexit saga closely."

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