Belfast Telegraph

Consumer confidence index dips

Consumer confidence dipped during October as people remain worried about the future level of their pay, research indicated today.

The Nationwide Consumer Confidence Index fell by one point during the month to stand at 52, its lowest level since March 2009.

The fall was driven by a further increase in people's pessimism about the future economic situation, with the expectations index falling by four points to an 18-month low.

The group said some of the decline was likely to have been caused by speculation over government cuts, ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

But people also remain pessimistic about the economy, with 29% expecting it to be worse in six months' time, although there was a 7% jump in the number of people who think the employment situation will be better, with 27% of those questioned saying there were likely to be some or many jobs available.

Despite this, only 14% of people think their household income will be higher in six months' time, with 19% expecting it to be lower.

Consumers are also feeling increasingly downbeat about the housing market, with people now expecting house prices to fall by 0.9% during the coming six months, well down on the rise of 0.1% they were predicting in September.

Martin Gahbauer, Nationwide's chief economist, said: "There was little change to overall confidence during October, which may have been a result of consumers waiting to see what the Government's Spending Review would bring.

"We saw a significant drop in confidence the previous month, and the underlying anxiety around the strength and direction of the recovery appears to remain."

The spending index rose by six points during the month, although this only partially offset the record 14-point fall seen in September.

The increase was driven by people feeling more optimistic about making big purchases, with 27% saying they thought it was a good time to make a big purchase, up from 25% in September.

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