U.K. Consumer Confidence Drops as Wages Boost Fails to Add Cheer

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. consumer confidence slid this month after a year of faster inflation and meager wage gains.

GfK’s gauge slid to minus 9 in April, down two points from March and marking the 28th consecutive month without a positive score, the firm said in a report Friday. Measures of personal finances, for both the past year and next 12 months, deteriorated, as did an assessment of the general economic situation.

The report underscores the strain which U.K. consumers are under, even as data suggests real incomes may finally be about to start rising. While workers are now enjoying the strongest wage growth in almost three years and sharp price increases are fading, Brexit still clouds the outlook.

“The continued uncertain economic forecast means that the sun is not yet shining brightly for U.K. consumers,” said Joe Staton, client strategy director at Gfk. “We need to see clear evidence with our own eyes -- in our bank balances and pay packets – that balmier economic climes have returned. ”

Data later Friday are forecast to show U.K. economic growth slowed in the first quarter, as bad weather likely took its toll on activity. That may prompt the Bank of England to hold off on hiking interest rates in May -- a move that was until recently view as a near-certainty.

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