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Financial News: UK Consumer Spending Drops For First Time In

UK Consumer Spending Drops For First Time In Nearly 4 Years: VISA

06/12/2017 - 08:15:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - British consumers trimmed their spending in May for the first time since 2013 as they turned cautious ahead of the June 8 election amid rising prices and stagnant wage growth, results of a survey by the global payments technology provider Visa showed Monday.

Household spending dropped 0.8 percent year-on-year in May, marking the first fall since September 2013, after a 0.3 percent increase in April, the survey, compiled by IHS Markit on behalf of Visa, showed.

Compared to the previous month, sales dropped 1.9 percent after a 0.3 percent gain in April.

The survey results are based on the Visa's UK Consumer Spending Index that uses card transaction data - debit, credit and prepaid, to measure total consumer expenditure across all payment methods.

"Our Index clearly shows that with rising prices and stalling wage growth, more of us are starting to feel the squeeze," Visa UK & Ireland Managing Director Kevin Jenkins said.

Transport & Communication and Clothing & Footwear were the two spending categories among eight to record the biggest falls. The latter marked the strongest drop since April 2012. Spending on household goods fell the most since March 2013.

Meanwhile, spending on miscellaneous goods and services logged the biggest increase. Expenditure on hotels, restaurants & bars and recreation and culture also rose.

Sales at brick-and-mortar retailers fell the most since April 2012, while online sales rebounded from a drop in the previous month.

"The outlook for consumer spending continues to look relatively bleak, with households facing faster increases in living costs and muted wage growth," IHS Markit economist Annabel Fiddes said.

Fiddes expects the squeeze on household finances to get worse as the Bank of England forecasts faster increases in consumer prices in the coming months.

"Combined with relatively low levels of consumer confidence, uncertainty around the outcome of Brexit and a slowdown in UK economic growth, it's likely we will continue to see weaker expenditure trends at least in the near-term," she added.

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