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UK consumers remain ‘stoic’ despite Brexit uncertainty, says GfK

Despite a significant slowdown in the UK economy and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, consumer confidence among Brits has remained stable, according to the market researcher.

UK households have remained resilient against a backdrop of Brexit and an ailing British economy, with consumer confidence edging higher in February, according to the market research company GfK.

The market researcher, which compiled data to create a consumer confidence index, said that even with the threat of a no-deal Brexit looming over country at the start of the new year, consumers remain ‘stoic’. In fact, the GfK index improved slightly to -13 from -14 in January.

‘Despite a slowdown in overall growth and concerns about the impact of Brexit uncertainty on the UK economy, topline consumer confidence is stable again this month,’ Client Strategy Director at GfK Joe Staton said.

Consumers adjusting to new normal

The market researcher said that although consumer confidence in the UK continues to bump along in ‘negative territory’, the overall index score has not seen a dramatic drop like those witnessed after the June 2016 Brexit referendum or in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

‘It is worth bearing in mind that many economic indicators - employment levels, wage growth - remain positive,’ Staton said.

‘But it is frankly amazing that confidence is so stoic and stable in a world of sharp political instability and fear of the unknown,’ he added.

UK housing market growth weak but stable

Britain’s housing market is relatively stable despite a myriad of headwinds, as annual house price growth remained sluggish in February, according to data released by Nationwide on Thursday.

The housing market nearly grinded to a halt in January, but house price growth picked up a touch in February, with prices climbing 0.4% higher than the same time last year.

‘The biggest improvement in home ownership over the past year has been amongst those aged 35-44, helping to reverse some of the decline seen in the last few years,’ Chief Economist at Nationwide Robert Gardner said.

‘Nonetheless, at 57%, the home ownership rate amongst this age group is still well below its 2006 peak of 73%,’ he added.

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