UK consumer confidence falls back in January on economy worries

© Reuters. Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London

LONDON (Reuters) – A gauge of confidence among British consumers slipped back in January because of worries about the economy which has been largely locked down again, a survey showed on Friday.

The consumer confidence index from market research firm GfK fell to -28 from -26 in December, when it jumped by the most in eight years on the back of news about COVID-19 vaccines.

A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a slightly bigger deterioration to -29.

Joe Staton, GfK’s client strategy director, said a nine-point drop in a gauge of expectations for the economy over the coming year and weak intentions for making major purchases were suppressing the overall index.

Britain went its third national lockdown this month which has forced non-essential retailers to close.

However, the GfK survey showed people’s views on their personal financial situation for the next 12 months held up.

The Bank of England is watching closely for signs of a recovery in confidence among consumers and companies as Britain’s COVID-19 vaccination programme – one of the fastest in the world so far – is rolled out.

(This story corrects headline)

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