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Economy in Brief

Consumer Confidence in the U.K. Close to All Time Low
by Louise Curley June 30, 2008

Consumer confidence in the U. K. has declined by 5 percentage points in each of the last three months and is now -34%, one point short of the lowest value recorded in March, 1990 as shown in the first chart. Consumer confidence in the U. K. is measured by the market research firm, GfK NOP. The measure is the percent balance between those who view current economic and financial conditions and prospects positively and those who view them negatively.

The decline in consumer confidence is no surprise. Consumers in the U.K., like those in many other countries, have been buffeted by rising inflation, slowing growth in jobs, declining house prices, foreclosures, and so on. There does not appear to be much, if any, relief in sight. The Hometrack Housing Survey, also released today, showed that house prices declined another 1% in June. They are now 5,800 GBP lower than in September 2007, as can be seen in the second chart.The Hometrack house price is mix adjusted, that is, the relative weight given to each characteristic of the house remains the same from one period to another. It is an attempt to measure the change in the price of a specific house from one period to the next. It is notthe change in average price of all houses sold.

UNITED KINGDOM  Jun 08 May 08  Apr  08  Mar 08  Feb 08  2007 2006 2005
GfK NOP Consumer Confidence (% balance) -34 -29 -24 -19 -17 -7 -6 -3
Hometrack Weighted Average Price (GBP) 170,500 172,200 173,100 174,100 174,400* 174,867 165,725 161,592
Hometrack Housing Price (M/M % change) -0.99 -0.52 -0.57 -0.17 -0.17 5.52 2.56 -2.38
*Recent Peak 176,300 September 2007
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