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UK consumer confidence wanes to year-low on Brexit worry

[LONDON] UK consumer confidence slumped to the lowest in a year as the country copes with the economic uncertainty of Brexit.

The index compiled by YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research fell in November and remains "notably below" where it was before the 2016 referendum to leave the European Union (EU). Seven of eight measures declined, reflecting broad-based concerns about job security and household finances, the report said on Thursday.

"The level of uncertainty is by no means subsiding," said Nina Skero, CEBR's head of macroeconomics. "Questions over the likelihood of the UK Parliament backing the deal and the nature of the long term UK-EU relationship loom large."

UK lawmakers appear set to reject Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit pact in a vote on Dec 11. Analysis by the Treasury on Wednesday showed that the arrangement would be better than crashing out without a deal, but still considerably more harmful to the economy than remaining in the EU.

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A separate report on Thursday showed that close to a fifth of small and medium enterprises, or SMEs, said they would reassess their growth plans should the UK leave with no deal.

Alongside the slowdown in global trade, 40 per cent of SMEs don't expect their revenues to grow domestically or internationally as the expense of Brexit preparations kick in, according to WorldFirst's Global Trade Barometer. Both the numbers of SMEs exporting to and importing from Europe dipped in the third quarter of this year.