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Decrease Noted In Financial Confidence

Sep 6, 2007
The nation's financial confidence fell over the course of last month, new figures indicate.

According to the latest Nationwide Consumer Confidence Index, Briton's general optimism decreased by two points during August to 94. However, in spite of the fall, the most recent confidence figures are some 13 per cent higher than from the same time last year. With all of the indices within the company's index falling, the drop in outlook was mainly attributed to the public feeling the strain of base rate rises over the last year by the Bank of England's monetary policy committee (MPC) on various aspects of their day-to-day finances ranging from making major purchases to getting a personal loan.

The decrease in the financial services firm's index was largely driven by a fall in the Spending Index. Falling by seven points to 79, this figure was reported to be "slightly above" the record low of 77 witnessed in December last year. Meanwhile, 15 per cent of Britons think that now is an ideal time to buy a major item such as a car or house, in comparison to the 21 per cent who felt this way this time last year. In addition, feelings that now is an opportune moment to purchase household products such as a washing machine fell to a "new low".

Commenting on the figures, Fionnuala Earley, chief economist for Nationwide, said: "The fall in each of the consumer confidence indices is not surprising given the five increases in interest rate rises in just a year. It now seems clears that consumers are taking this to heart in their spending intentions".

"Recent events such as the floods and the turmoil in the financial markets may also be having something of an impact on their sentiment. But one bit of good news for consumers is that the unexpectedly large fall in inflation, along with financial market unrest, means that it is now much less likely that the MPC will feel a further hike in interest rates is necessary."

Her announcement comes as the financial services firm claims that there is a 90 per cent probability that the MPC will vote to keep interest rates consistent later this week. Meanwhile, the company reports there is a ten per cent chance that the base rate will increase by 0.25 per cent.

The findings also revealed that public expectations about property price growth increased over the course of August. Consumers are now forecasting that houses are to rise by 3.8 per cent in value over the next six months, in comparison to predicted surges of 2.7 per cent noted in July. However, Nationwide revealed that the "underlying trend is still moderating" as the three-month moving average has fallen to 3.1 per cent during August, down from 3.4 per cent recorded in the previous month.

A third of respondents also claimed that there will be fewer jobs available within six months, with an increase noted in those believing the economy is to worsen over the same period of time. However, Britons were still shown to be "happy" about their projected earnings over the coming months.

For those consumers concerned about how their finances will be affected over the coming months, a debt consolidation loan may be a wise choice. Earlier in the year, Picture Financial marketing director Julia Dallimore claimed that getting such a loan can help borrowers reduce their debts and put all their outgoings into one low monthly repayment.
About the Author
Steve Smith writes for 1 stop finance shop where visitors can apply for UK debt consolidation loans and also focuses on cheap personal loans and bad credit secured loans for UK residents.
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