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UK consumer confidence holds at high level in February: GfK

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British consumer confidence held steady at a high level this month as low inflation and rising wages made Britons more confident about their finances, according to a poll published on Friday.

[LONDON] British consumer confidence held steady at a high level this month as low inflation and rising wages made Britons more confident about their finances, according to a poll published on Friday.

The report by research firm GfK will be pleasant reading for Prime Minister David Cameron, whose Conservative Party hopes rising confidence about the economy will translate into votes in a May 7 national election.

GfK's consumer confidence index held at +1 in February, matching January's reading that was the highest since last August. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a slightly higher reading of +2.

Mr Cameron's Conservative Party remains tied in opinion polls with the opposition Labour Party, raising questions about whether the recovery in the economy can yet help Cameron in his bid to retain power.

Nick Moon, managing director of social research at GfK, said time seemed to be running out for a further big rise in confidence among consumers between now and election day. "Unless there is some dramatic change in the indicators that get media coverage, or people start feeling significantly better off as inflation edges towards zero, it is hard to see any major change between now and the election," Mr Moon said.

The survey's measure of confidence about personal finances in the next 12 months rose to its highest level since May 2014.

GfK's survey followed a poll from YouGov published on Thursday, which also pointed to rising confidence about personal finances.

Official data on Thursday confirmed Britain's economy grew 0.5 per cent in the last three months of 2015 - the slowest growth rate in a year - but there have been signs of a strong start to this year.

REUTERS