Nationwide tracks rising consumer confidence

09 November 2006
Consumer optimism picked up in October after a decline followed the August interest rate hike, according to the Nationwide Consumer Confidence index.

The index, which measures confidence in current and future economic and employment prospects, rose nine points to hit 98 in the largest single leap since November 2005.

The only current trends indicator to fall was the spending index, which tumbled seven points.

But indicators around current job and income opportunities witnessed a four-point rise, with half of the interviewees believing 'many' jobs were now available.

Stuart Bernau, Nationwide's executive director, commented: "Consumers certainly appear more confident in jobs and the economy, but this has not translated into spending."

"This reluctance to spend may give the MPC some comfort that inflation will not be further fuelled by a spending boom," he said, suggesting the results might give pause to the Monetary Policy Committee, which meets today decide whether to introduce a rate hike.

Although most economic commentators regard a hike as a "foregone conclusion", "the question on everyone's lips is will they or won't they increase rates", said Mr Bernau.

Meanwhile, research company GfK NOP's monthly consumer confidence index rose two points to minus five in October.

track© Adfero Ltd