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Jennie Johnson

Consumer Confidence stalls over "Brexit jitters"

Consumer confidence stalled in March amid speculation that "Brexit jitters" could be behind a fall in sentiment over the past year.

The Consumer Confidence Index from analyst GfK remained at zero last month, down 18 points compared with March 2015.

The sub-index measuring people's confidence over the general economic situation during the last 12 months remained unchanged at minus 10, down 11 points year-on-year.

Expectations for the economy over the next 12 months were also unchanged, with the index at 12 - 18 points lower than March 2015.

The sub-index measuring confidence over people's personal finances dipped by one point, although it remained six points higher year-on-year.

There was also a slight uptick in optimism over the outlook for personal finances over the year ahead, with the sub-index climbing one point to nine, up two points on last March.

However, the sub-index measuring confidence over making major purchases edged one point lower to 11, two points higher year-on-year.

The measure looking at whether now is a good time to save was unchanged at minus two.

Joe Staton, Head of Market Dynamics at GfK, said: "Are we seeing Brexit jitters at work now? While UK consumers remain resolutely upbeat about their personal financial situation, even showing a one point increase this month when asked about expectations for the year ahead, concerns about prospects for the general economic situation continue to dampen our mood.

"Looking at how consumers see the wider economy developing over the next 12 months, we are 18 points lower this month than in March 2015. So, despite good economic headlines about low inflation, interest rates and prices in the shops, concerns about Brexit and the ongoing Eurozone crisis appear to be hitting home."

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