The clouds of pessimism that had settled over the UK for the best part of a year suddenly cleared in May as rays of optimism appeared. Consumer confidence jumped 10 points to -21, the biggest monthly gain since May 1993 and the highest headline measure since last December.
Some pull back in sentiment in June is likely given the strong May bounce. Better job and inflation expectations since March suggest that the improvements in household finances shown in the past two months may continue. Saving / debt repayment rather than spending / borrowing may continue to be a higher priority.
Around the UK…
Confidence gained in all UK regions in May. Sentiment surged 15 points in Wales and also made double digit gains in the English regions. In London and Northern Ireland confidence is up 9 points with confidence in Scotland showing the weakest rise, up by 6 points. Compared to a year ago confidence in London is down the most. Only in Northern Ireland and the Midlands is confidence higher. All major English regions now are more confident than elsewhere in the UK.