Photographer: Frantzesco Kangaris/Bloomberg

U.K. Consumer Confidence Stalls as ‘Brexit’ Clouds Outlook

  • Consumer-confidence index stays at lowest since December 2014
  • GfK says concern about EU vote appears to be `hitting home'

Fears that Britain might vote to leave the European Union helped keep consumer confidence at the lowest level in more than a year, according to a survey published Thursday.

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GfK’s consumer-confidence index stayed at zero in March. A gauge of expectations for the economic situation over the next 12 months was minus 12, unchanged on the month and down 18 points from a year earlier.

“Despite good economic headlines about low inflation, interest rates and prices in the shops, concerns about Brexit and the ongoing euro-zone crisis appear to be hitting home,” said Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK.

The Bank of England said Tuesday that the prospects for financial stability have deteriorated as it put the risk of a Brexit following the June 23 referendum at the top of its list of near-term domestic threats. Stability officials at the central bank warned the pound -- which is already heading for its worst quarter since 2009 -- could fall further as uncertainty increases.

Interviewing for GfK’s survey was carried out between March 1 and March 16, before suicide blasts at Brussels airport and on the city’s subway killed more than 30 people and left scores of others injured.

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