U.K. Consumer Confidence Hits Four-Year Low In December

By Wiktor SzaryFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

U.K. consumer sentiment worsened again in December as Britons turned more pessimistic about their finances, a survey published Thursday showed, potentially signaling further trouble ahead for the country's largely domestic-driven economy, which has already slowed visibly this year.

The long-running barometer of consumer confidence, conducted by market researcher GfK U.K. Ltd. for the European Union's executive, dropped by one point in December and stood at minus 13, the lowest reading in four years. The December decline follows a two-point decrease the previous month.

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The survey reflected a worsening of consumers' views on their personal financial situation over the past 12 months and a further decline in their willingness to commit to big-ticket purchases, a sign that the ongoing living-standards squeeze--evident since last year's Brexit vote--is giving shoppers pause.

Consumers need to get a better sense of where the Brexit negotiations are headed and how quickly the cost of borrowing will rise if the downward trend in sentiment is to be reversed, Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK, said.

"None of this will be resolved quickly so there's every likelihood that 2018 will take us lower," Mr. Staton said.

Write to Wiktor Szary at Wiktor.Szary@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 20, 2017 19:15 ET (00:15 GMT)