Date
26 March 2017
George Osborne warns that Britain faces a "dangerous cocktail" of risks from the world economy. Photo: Reuters
George Osborne warns that Britain faces a "dangerous cocktail" of risks from the world economy. Photo: Reuters

Brexit, eurozone worries weigh on UK consumers, survey shows

British consumers are at their least confident in more than a year, with tje country’s referendum on a European Union exit and the eurozone’s unresolved economic problems, weighing on their sentiment.

Market research firm GfK said its overall consumer sentiment indicator came in at zero in March, unchanged from February and its joint lowest level since December 2014, Reuters reports.

British consumers have been the driver of the country’s economic recovery over the past three years.

“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,” Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK, said.

Optimism among consumers about the economy over the next 12 months was 18 points lower than in March 2015 at -12.

Finance Minister George Osborne has warned repeatedly that the country faces a “dangerous cocktail” of risks from the world economy.

Economists say the government’s decision to hold the EU referendum is another, home-grown, risk which is likely to hurt confidence in the run-up to the vote on June 23.

If voters decide to leave the bloc, Britain will probably suffer a hit to growth, at least in the short term, most economists say.

The GfK survey showed consumers were less willing to spend on big-ticket items than in February.

GfK conducted the survey of 2,002 people between March 1 and March 16 on behalf of the European Commission.

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