Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

U.K. Consumer Confidence Hits Level Last Seen After Brexit Vote

  • Index slides on concerns over household finances, house prices
  • Growth in third quarter was driven by higher consumer spending

U.K. consumer confidence tumbled in November, reaching the lowest level since the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research said optimism suffered its biggest monthly decline since the month after the referendum, with all eight measures that make up the index falling.

The score for household financial situations in the past 30 days dropped to its lowest since January 2014, and a gauge of home owners’ expectations for values over the next 12 months slid to the least in a year following the Bank of England’s rate increase on Nov. 2.

The report on Friday comes after official data this week highlighted the importance of consumers to the U.K. economy, as a jump in household spending offset slowing business investment and a drag from trade to drive a 0.4 percent expansion in the third quarter. It also follows Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond’s announcement of a downgrade to the economic outlook as a result of a sluggish productivity and Brexit headwinds.

Warnings of a consumer slowdown are coming ahead of the crucial Christmas shopping period as the squeeze on incomes from inflation continues. Figures last week showed retail sales fell in October from a year earlier, the first decline in more than four years.

“Households are understandably worried.” said Christian Jaccarini, an economist at the CEBR. “The first interest-rate hike in over a decade triggered fears that higher borrowing costs will compound the inflation-induced squeeze on household incomes.”

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