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Consumers show ‘remarkable resilience’ as confidence continues to rise

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Consumers feel more positive about their own finances and the country’s financial situation, but sentiment towards the housing market has dipped, according to a Lloyds Bank report.

The consumer spending power survey found that positivity towards personal finance increased by five percentage points to 68% in February.

The increased confidence comes as sentiment towards the country’s financial situation rose by three percentage points to 43% last month. Optimism around job security was also up by two percentage points to 81%.

However the survey, conducted in conjunction with Ipsos MORI, revealed that the positive outlook did not extend to the housing market. Confidence in this area dropped nine percentage points to 37%, its lowest level since July 2013. Homeowners showed the biggest loss of confidence, falling 11 points to 42%, while renters’ confidence fell to 26% from 31% in January.

Lloyds Bank’s analysis of its own current account data showed consumers’ essential spending – made up of rent, mortgage and required debt payments, utility bills, council tax, TV licence, food and fuel – rose by 2% year-on-year in February. This was driven in part by the highest rate of inflation since 2013.

Spending on groceries, which accounts for around 40% of all essential spend, rose by over 1%, a tenth consecutive month of growth. Spend on petrol and diesel surged by around 12% year-on-year – the highest growth rate since essential spending records began in early 2013, and much higher than the rate of around 10% seen in January.

Robin Bulloch, managing director at Lloyds Bank, said: Despite a melting pot of economic uncertainty – from the prospect of Brexit to the impact of inflation – UK consumers are demonstrating a remarkable resilience when it comes to their own personal finances. Of course the full effect of these factors will only truly be felt in the long run, and people may already have one eye on this when it comes to confidence in the housing market.”

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