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U.K. Consumer Confidence Flat on Better Finance Outlook

Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. consumer confidence held steady this month as optimism about personal finances rose to the highest in almost two years, GfK NOP Ltd. said.

The sentiment index stayed at minus 26 after increasing by 3 points in January, the London-based group said in a report today. The February reading matched the median forecast of 21 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. A measure of personal finances rose 2 points to minus 5, the highest since May 2011.

“While an unchanged figure may not seem very good news, the maintenance of all of last month’s 3-point gain is encouraging,” said Nick Moon, managing director of social research at GfK. “Consumers may be regaining their breath.”

The Bank of England forecasts a “slow but sustained” recovery for the economy this year. Still, consumers may remain under pressure from rising energy bills and accelerating inflation. GfK’s gauge of the climate for making major purchases dropped 4 points this month to minus 26, while the headline index remains well below its long-run average of minus 9.

A measure of Britons’ outlook for the economy over the next 12 months was unchanged at minus 25 in February, while their view of the past year slipped 1 point to minus 52. Data yesterday showed U.K. gross domestic product fell 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter.

GfK interviewed 2,002 people from Feb. 1 to Feb. 10.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fergal O’Brien in London at fobrien@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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