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UK consumer confidence improves in March: GfK

U.K. consumer confidence increased in March after declining 1 point in February as consumers turned slightly more bullish about the general economic situation and personal finances, according to research carried out by GfK on behalf of the European Commission.

The overall consumer confidence index increased by three points to negative 7 in March from negative 10 in February.

Consumers' expectations about the general economic situation over the next 12 months increased 4 points and their view of the general economic situation during the past 12 months was up 3 points in the month. Their forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months rose 5 points and the index measuring personal finances during the past 12 months increased 3 points.

The indexes measuring purchase and saving intentions also increased from the previous month.

Joe Staton, head of experience innovation UK at GfK, said consumers' spirits could have been boosted by the prospect of wage growth outpacing declining inflation, higher employment with low interest rates and some improvement on Brexit.

"Despite the pick-up in overall outlook for the economic situation and personal finances, the risks of precautionary savings have risen further, signaling that the future outlook remains clouded by uncertainties related to political changes or pace of interest rate rises," said Sreekala Kochugovindan, analyst at Barclays Research.

"Our new forecasts show consumption resilient in 2018 but weakening in 2019 as the impact of monetary tightening feeds through."