U.K. Confidence Drops Most on Record as Lockdown Bites

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. consumer confidence saw the sharpest plunge on record as Britons adjusted to the reality of the coronavirus lockdown.

GfK said its measure of sentiment dropped 25 points to -34 between the middle of March and the end of the month, close to the nadir seen during the financial crisis more than a decade ago.

All components of the index fell, with a measure of major purchase intentions seeing the biggest slump. Forward-looking gauges of personal finances and the U.K.’s economic outlook also saw large declines.

The drop is all the more dramatic since it covers only two weeks. GfK normally publishes its index once a month. It conducted a special flash survey in the last two weeks of March to capture the impact of new restrictions on British life.

U.K. citizens are now only allowed to leave their houses for essential work, care or shopping, and for a daily period of exercise.

The report also confirms that a nascent recovery in confidence in the wake of Boris Johnson’s election win last year has been stopped in its tracks. That victory partially lifted the cloud of Brexit uncertainty that has dogged the U.K. for years. The index climbed to a 18-month high in February, before falling just two points in GfK’s regular March survey, released March 31.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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