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UK consumers most upbeat in 5 years, but not in pro-EU London

The buoyant overall tone of the survey commissioned by business advisory firm Deloitte echoed other measures of confidence by consumers who appear to have shrugged off the shock vote to leave the EU.

By: Reuters | London |
October 17, 2016 6:22:04 am
Brexit, United Kingdom Brexit, European Union referendum, EU referendum, EU brexit, British pound, pound, Asian trade, Euro, dollar, markets, business, world market A survey found property prices fell in London, bucking a rise in the country as a whole. (File Photo)

British consumers were their most confident in five years in September, a survey showed on Monday, but the upbeat mood was not shared in London where most voters opposed leaving the European Union in June’s Brexit referendum.

The buoyant overall tone of the survey commissioned by business advisory firm Deloitte echoed other measures of confidence by consumers who appear to have shrugged off the shock vote to leave the EU.

Deloitte said confidence among consumers rose by three percentage points from its previous quarterly survey, the biggest increase since late 2014. But in London, consumer sentiment fell by three percentage points.

“The Brexit vote may be weighing on a region in which 60 percent of the population voted to remain (in the EU) and where reliance on financial services, migration and capital flows are especially strong,” Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte, said. A survey of Britain’s housing market published last week found property prices fell in London, bucking a rise in the country as a whole.

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Many employers share the concerns about Britain’s uncertain future relationship with the EU. Prime Minister Theresa May has signalled she will pursue controls over migration which could reduce Britain’s future access to the EU’s single market. Deloitte’s quarterly survey of 3,000 UK consumers was carried out between Sept. 16 and 18.

While it pointed to continued growth in retail sales going into the fourth quarter, spending power could be challenged in 2017 and beyond when inflation is expected to rise and negotiations about the country’s exit from the EU begin, Deloitte said. Economists taking part in a Reuters poll expect official data due on Thursday to show retail sales growth slowed in September as a rise in prices starts to eat into how much shoppers were able to buy.

Separately on Monday, property website Rightmove said asking prices for homes put up for sale in England and Wales rose in the month to Oct. 8, the second monthly increase after falling following the referendum. Prices rose by 0.9 percent and were just 0.4 percent below the highest level on Rightmove’s records which was hit in June.

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